Synopses & Reviews
In the bestselling tradition of Empire of the Summer Moon
, this is the untold story of Red Cloud, the most powerful Indian commander of the Plains who witnessed the opening of the West.
The great Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud was the only Plains Indian to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the American government to sue for peace in a conflict named for him. At the peak of their chief’s powers, the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States. But unlike Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, or Geronimo, the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to painstaking research by two award-winning authors, his incredible story can finally be told.
Born in 1821 in what is now Nebraska, Red Cloud grew up an orphan who overcame myriad social disadvantages to advance in Sioux culture. Through fearless raids against neighboring tribes, like the Crow and Pawnee, he acquired a reputation as the best leader of his fellow warriors, catapulting him into the Sioux elite — and preparing him for the epic struggle his nation would face with an expanding United States. Drawing on a wealth of evidence that includes Red Cloud’s 134-page autobiography, lost for nearly a hundred years, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin bring their subject to life again in a narrative that climaxes with Red Cloud’s War — a conflict whose massacres presaged the Little Bighorn and ensured Red Cloud’s place in the pantheon of Native American legends.
A story as big as the West, with portraits of General William Tecumsah Sherman, explorer John Bozeman, mountain man Jim Bridger, Red Cloud protégé Crazy Horse, and many others, The Heart of Everything That Is not only places you at the center of the conflict over western expansion, but finally gives our nation’s greatest Indian war leader the modern-day recognition he deserves.
"For all of our culture's fascination with the American Indian, it's almost impossible to believe that one of the most well-known Indians of his time, the Oglala Sioux warrior chief Red Cloud, could be largely forgotten until now. Yet that's exactly what we discover in this illuminating account by Drury and Clavin (Halsey's Typhoon). As the de facto leader of the Western Sioux nation an unprecedented feat in itself given the Sioux's rigorous individualism and a 'culture consisted of fluid, haphazard tribal groups' Red Cloud and his army stand alone in history as the only Indians to ever defeat the United States in a war, which took all of two years (18661868). A history inconveniently at odds with the accepted American narrative, the manuscript for Red Cloud's 1893 autobiography lay in a drawer at the Nebraska State Historical Society into the 1990s. Thanks to that work and the authors' extensive, additional scholarship, readers now have access to a much more thorough, comprehensive understanding of the Plains Indians' brutal and tragically futile efforts to protect their land and way of living from the progress of 'civilization.' Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel-Weber Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A ripping yarn....A quintessentially Western tale of bold exploits, tough characters, brutal conditions and a lost way of life, this sounds like the sort of story that practically tells itself. Yet you only realize how little justice most popular histories do to their source material when you come across a book, like this one, that does everything right. It's customary to say of certain nonfiction books — gussied up with plenty of 'color' and psychological speculation — that they 'read like a novel,' but truth be told, most of the time we'd have to be talking about a pretty mediocre novel. The Heart of Everything That Is, on the other hand, resembles the good ones. There were times, turning its pages, when I could almost smell the pines of the Black Hills, feel the icy wind tearing down from Canada across the prairie and hear the hooves of the buffalo pounding the earth."
Laura Miller, Salon
"Exquisitely told....Remarkably detailed....The story of Red Cloud's unusual guile and strategic genius makes the better-known Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse pale in comparison....This is no knee-jerk history about how the West was won, or how the West was lost. This historical chronicle is unabashed, unbiased and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled....A compelling and fiery narrative."
"Vivid....Lively....A tale of lies, trickery, and brutal slaughter....In telling the story of Red Cloud, Messrs. Drury and Clavin appropriately bring a number of the larger-than-life figures from that time onstage...[and] chronicle in considerable detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their ancient way of life."
Christopher Corbett, The Wall Street Journal
"Valuable....Meticulous....[A] remarkable story....The writers don't shy away from the atrocities on both sides of the gruesome, long-running conflict between the Indians and the U.S. forces. But when, for the umpteenth time, U.S. officials break a contract as soon as the glint of gold is spotted in the hills, one cannot help but feel that there's all the more reason to celebrate one of the Sioux's most impressive fighters."
"A gripping narrative....This fascinating book is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the Old West."
Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
Bob Drury is the author/coauthor/editor of nine books. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Men's Journal
, and GQ
. He is currently a contributing editor and foreign correspondent for Men's Health
. He lives in Manasquan, New Jersey.
Tom Clavin is the author or coauthor of eleven books and associate editor of The Medical Herald and The Spiritual Herald. He has contributed to the New York Times, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Parade, Reader's Digest, and Men's Journal, among others. He lives in East Hampton, New York.