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Toward the Setting Sun: John Ross, the Cherokees and the Trail of Tearsby Brian Hicks
Synopses & Reviews
Toward the Setting Sun chronicles one of the most significant but least explored periods in American history, recounting the little known story of the first white man to champion the voiceless Native American cause.
Son of a Scottish trader and a quarter-Cherokee woman, Ross was educated in white schools and was only one-eighth Indian by blood. But as Cherokee chief in the mid-nineteenth century, he would guide the tribe through its most turbulent period. The Cherokees' plight lay at the epicenter of nearly all the key issues facing a young America: western expansion, states' rights, judicial power, and racial discrimination. Clashes between Ross and President Andrew Jackson raged from battlefields to the White House and Supreme Court. As whites settled illegally on the Nation's land, the chief steadfastly refused to sign a removal treaty. Only when a group of renegade Cherokees betrayed their chief and negotiated an agreement with Jackson's men was he forced to begin his journey west. In one of America's great tragedies, thousands died during the Cherokees' migration on the Trail of Tears.
Toward the Setting Sun retells the story of expansionism from the native perspective, and takes a critical look at the well-rehearsed story of American progress.
"Hicks (Raising the Hunley) revisits U.S. treachery and deceit toward Native Americans in his study of John Ross, the Cherokee chief who for 20 years led his people in defense of their lands. As the population of the fledgling U.S. grew, so too did pressure on the Cherokees to quit their land. Foremost among the advocates of Cherokee removal was Andrew Jackson, who used every power at his command--including eventually the power of the presidency--to see Cherokee land settled by whites. Against this formidable foe stood an unlikely champion, trading post owner John Ross. Only a fraction Cherokee, Ross nevertheless felt a powerful connection to the people and their cause, journeying repeatedly to Washington to plead their case and gain some sort of protection from the depredations of settlers and overzealous politicians. Ultimately defeated, he turned to doing what he could to ease the brutality of the long, bitter, and--for many thousands of Cherokee--fatal march on foot into the West along what came to be called the Trail of Tears. Richly detailed and well-researched, the heartbreaking history unfolds like a political thriller with a deeply human side. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Brian Hicks is a senior writer for The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. where he lives. This is his fifth book on Cherokee heritage.
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