A wrenching account of the injustices the Sioux endured from white men and the battles that ensued, based on Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
Brown’s work, considered groundbreaking in 1971, told the painful history of Native Americans in the late-19th century from their perspective. Rather than just shorten the weighty original, Zimmerman draws from chapters about the Sioux as representative of the broken treaties, battles, suffering and death. The fluid chronological adaptation conveys the view that “an overwhelming number” of settlers, soldiers and men in authority were “arrogant, greedy, racist, murderous, and cruel beyond belief,” a conclusion supported by the many well-told accounts of travesties. Except for references to the Civil War, the author offers little historical or social context. He rarely mentions women, although the controversial term “squaw” appears once. The overall effect feels dated, including occasional flowery prose from the original book, such as “the remnants of the once proud woodland Sioux awaited their fate.” Except for material supporting the introduction and epilogue, source notes are not included; readers are referred to the original for Brown's. Photographs, including many by Edward Curtis, and illustrations with useful captions appear frequently in the attractive, open design.
Flawed and no longer groundbreaking in its perspective, this nevertheless offers a readable description of an essential part of American history. (time line, glossary, suggested websites, recommended reading, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)