THUNDER ON THE RIVER by Charlton Laird


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The chief value of this book lies in its presentation of aspects of relationships between whites and Indians -- paralleling in many points Wilder's Bright Feather. Where that dealt with Florida, this deals with the upper Mississippi frontier and the Sauks- their chief, Black Hawk, and the white youth he adopted and renamed White Thunder. Mark, the youth, had gone to the far frontier from Vermont, and shortly before his capture by the Sauks had agreed to marriage with Jeanne Brevaut, whose father ran a frontier tavern. Then came long months with the Indians, marriage to an Indian girl, fathering her children- and with his return to white so- called civilization, the discovery that Jeanne was married to his enemy. Mark (White Thunder) served as intermediary, interpreting the Indians hopes and fears to the whites, trying to bring peace instead of war. But the westward tide of empire was too strong for him. The Sauks fell victim to white settlers and white solidary, rapacity, ignorance, viciousness. Not a pretty picture. Plot and characters seem incidental to the background and the central theme.

Publisher: (Atlantic Monthly Press) Little, Brown