MONTH OF THE FREEZING MOON: The Sand Creek Massacre November, 1864 by Duane Schultz

MONTH OF THE FREEZING MOON: The Sand Creek Massacre November, 1864

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chronicler of WW II's Pacific Theater (The Doolittle Raid, 1988, etc.) and most recently of battles in the history of psychology (Intimate Friends, Dangerous Rivals: The Turbulent Relationship between Freud and Jung, p. 35), Schultz now turns his sharp eye on one of the better-known massacres of Native Americans. After gold was discovered in the Colorado region during the 1850's, prospectors and fortune-hunters of all stripes, as well as settlers and champions of Western civilization, began to arrive in ever-increasing numbers, and relations between the newcomers and local tribes of Plains Indians--Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Sioux, and others--quickly deteriorated. When a minor outbreak of hostilities erupted early in 1864, on the heels of a bloody Sioux rampage in Minnesota two years earlier, tensions brought on a state of war in which bands of marauding Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors and troops of territorial militia--under the command of the infamous Colonel J.M. Chivington, the ""fighting parson""--roamed the territory, killing indiscriminately. Hostilities had ceased by summer's end, but in the midst of an early winter, Chivington led his men in a vicious surprise attack at Sand Creek, against a peaceful tribal group that had asked for and received protection from the commander of a nearby Army post. The ensuing slaughter and mutilation of men, women, and children prompted Congressional and Army inquiries and a national outcry, and resulted in a resumption of the conflict in the area, on a wider and more violent scale. Schultz provides a well-researched, colorful account of the situation within a framework of the Civil War, the drive toward statehood, and the personal ambitions of a few prominent Colorado citizens--without, however, attempting to broach broader contextual issues, which Herman Melville once labeled ""the metaphysics of Indian-hating"" Frontier history brought vividly to life, with a full complement of heroes and villains, and detailing a peculiarly American tragedy that should never be forgotten.

Pub Date: June 5th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's