BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE: An Indian History of the American West

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A well-intentioned, weepy account of frontier wars against the American Indian. The scope of the book is more restricted than the subtitle suggests, dealing almost exclusively with the Fate of the Cheyenne and the Sioux between 1860 and 1890. Though amply researched, the narrative is excessively anecdotal and apart from the eloquent testimonials of the Indians themselves concerning their progressive disillusionment with the good faith of American treaty-makers, there is almost no sense of historical development. Every Indian warrior from Black Kettle to Sitting Bull is portrayed as a noble and pathetic soul while the American generals are simply butchers and sadists. Though Miss Brown perceives some differences between the appeasers and the radicals, her treatment of Indian nationalism lacks sophistication -- thus for example, the glaring contrasts between Black Kettle, the white man's friend, and the militant Dog Soldiers who broke away from his authority, are neither stressed nor interpreted. Similarly, the crucial role of the half-breed as emissary between two civilizations is not sufficiently explored either in psychological or political terms. Between massacres, Miss Brown provides the background to such immortal American aphorisms as Custer's "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." A good book to read before taking off to see Soldier Blue.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1970
ISBN: 0805086846
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston