Books by Renee Sansom Flood

Released: June 14, 1995

The story of the relationship between an infant survivor of the Wounded Knee massacre and her adoptive mother, a leader of the women's suffrage movement. Although Flood, author of several Native American histories (she edited A Legend from Crazy Horse Clan, not reviewed), clearly intends her tale to be a vehicle for exposing white prejudice and celebrating the perseverance and resistance of the Lakota nation, the work gains its power from the remarkable story of Lost Bird and Clara Colby. Rescued from the arms of her dead mother four days after the December 1890 massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek, Lost Bird is acquired as a sort of trophy by the dashing General Leonard Colby. Colby's wife, Clara, takes on the duties of raising her. The Colbys' lives intersected with those of some of the late 19th century's most important and colorful characters, several of whom—Western legend Buffalo Bill and feminist leader Susan B. Anthony, among others—make cameo appearances here. Flood's history follows the lives of both Lost Bird and Clara, chronicling the girl's increasing dissatisfaction with white society and desire, despite her love for Clara, to return to her roots. The author has done a tremendous amount of primary research, including a great number of first-hand interviews, which she uses (and in places overuses, in chunky excerpts that break up the narrative) to relate the two women's lives with remarkable detail. Probably as a result of the sources available, we learn much more about Clara Colby than about Lost Bird, though the latter is the ostensible focus of the book. This detracts somewhat from the personal and historical impact of their story. The prose is at times too flowery, and the text a bit disjointed, but Flood writes history with style and tells an informative, affecting tale. (illustrations, not seen) Read full book review >