Misleadingly titled, this is less a biography of the Sioux warrior than a very pedestrian narration of the U.S. Army's...

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SITTING BULL

Misleadingly titled, this is less a biography of the Sioux warrior than a very pedestrian narration of the U.S. Army's protracted campaigns against the Western or Teton Sioux who were subdivided into seven tribes and spread over a vast area of the Great Plains. Adams begins his story with the inauguration of Andrew Jackson whose policies gave great impetus to westward expansion and goes on to describe how the discovery of gold in the West, the Homestead Act, the Civil War, the opening of the Bozeman trail and the construction of railroads put increasing pressure on the Indians of the Northwest, especially the Sioux who did not suffer the encroachment of the whites gladly. However Sitting Bull and his people, the Hunkpapas, who inhabited a remote area of Montana and North Dakota, remained personally uninvolved in the losing battle to resist the Americans until the 1870's when gold was discovered in the Black Hills and the luckless General Custer found himself wandering around the Little Big Horn. Why then call this rehash of Sand Creek, Powder Ridge, et al. a biography of Sitting Bull? Because, says Adams, ""Sitting Bull was a product of his own time."" He was also very brave and Adams duly records his feats in battle, his daring theft of horses from the Crow, and the ordeals he suffered without flinching while performing the Sun Dance. Proud and defiant, he refused to acknowledge the invincibility of the whites and to the end of his life rebelled against the ignominy of being an ""agency Indian,"" tamed and subsidized by his enemies. Scalpings, massacres and broken treaties fill up these lackluster pages, but Sitting. Bull -- who appears only peripatetically -- remains the same quasi-mythical, stereotypical redskin of yore.

Pub Date: March 30, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1973