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Other titles in the Pivotal Moments in American History series:
The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story (Pivotal Moments in American History)by Elliott West
Synopses & Reviews
This newest volume in Oxford's acclaimed Pivotal Moments series offers an unforgettable portrait of the Nez Perce War of 1877, the last great Indian conflict in American history. It was, as Elliott West shows, a tale of courage and ingenuity, of desperate struggle and shattered hope, of short-sighted government action and a doomed flight to freedom.
To tell the story, West begins with the early history of the Nez Perce and their years of friendly relations with white settlers. In an initial treaty, the Nez Perce were promised a large part of their ancestral homeland, but the discovery of gold led to a stampede of settlement within the Nez Perce land. Numerous injustices at the hands of the US government combined with the settlers' invasion to provoke this most accomodating of tribes to war. West offers a riveting account of what came next: the harrowing flight of 800 Nez Perce, including many women, children and elderly, across 1500 miles of mountainous and difficult terrain. He gives a full reckoning of the campaigns and battles--and the unexpected turns, brilliant stratagems, and grand heroism that occurred along the way. And he brings to life the complex characters from both sides of the conflict, including cavalrymen, officers, politicians, and--at the center of it all--the Nez Perce themselves (the Nimiipuu, "true people"). The book sheds light on the war's legacy, including the near sainthood that was bestowed upon Chief Joseph, whose speech of surrender, "I will fight no more forever," became as celebrated as the Gettysburg Address.
Based on a rich cache of historical documents, from government and military records to contemporary interviews and newspaper reports, The Last Indian War offers a searing portrait of a moment when the American identity--who was and who was not a citizen--was being forged.
"A distinguished scholar of American history makes a significant contribution to Oxford's excellent series Pivotal Moments in American History in this definitive analysis of the United States' 1877 war with the Nez Perc. West (The Contested Plains) integrates a broad spectrum of sources to depict the fate of a people whose history of friendship with the U.S. dated to 1805. The Nez Perc were caught up in the questions posed by the Civil War and the period of expansion that followed: 'who would be the Americans and what obligations would bind them together?' Such questions influenced Idaho and Oregon, where the Nez Perc lived, as much as Massachusetts and Virginia. The 1877 war, the Nez Perc's epic journey to reach the Canadian border, American conquest and Indian exile is the heart of the book, and West tells it brilliantly. No less compelling is his account of the Nez Perc taking up farming and making and selling Indian trinkets, developing their image as 'beloved losers' and negotiating their return home — on white terms, but with honor and integrity upheld. 40 b&w illus., maps." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Beard was not only a witness to two major battles against the Lakota; he also traveled with William and#8220;Buffalo Billand#8221; Codyand#8217;s Wild West show, worked as a Hollywood Indian, and witnessed the grand transformation of the Black Hills into a tourism mecca. Beard spent most of his later life fighting to reclaim his homeland and acting as and#8220;old Dewey Beard,and#8221; a living relic of the and#8220;old Westand#8221; for the tourists.
At the end of the Southern Plains Indian wars in 1875, the War Department shipped seventy-two Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Caddo prisoners from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. These most resistant Native people, referred to as and#8220;trouble causers,and#8221; arrived to curious, boisterous crowds eager to see the Indian warriors they knew only from imagination. Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education is an evocative work of creative nonfiction, weaving together history, oral traditions, and personal experience to tell the story of these Indian prisoners.
Resurrecting the voices and experiences of the prisoners who underwent a painful regimen of assimilation, Diane Glancyand#8217;s work is part history, part documentation of personal accounts, and a search for imaginative openings into the lives of the prisoners who left few of their own records other than carvings in their cellblocks and the famous ledger books. They learned English, mathematics, geography, civics, and penmanship with the knowledge that acquiring the same education as those in the U.S.and#160;government would be their best tool for petitioning for freedom. Glancy reveals stories of survival and an intimate understanding of the Fort Marion prisonersand#8217; predicament.
About the Author
Elliott West is Professor of American History at the University of Arkansas.
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