UTAH'S BLACK HAWK WAR

A first-rate investigation into a little-known episode of the Indian Wars. Although it raged for nearly a decade and cost a few hundred lives, Utah’s Black Hawk War is rarely mentioned in histories of the American West. In that war, a Ute elder named Black Hawk gathered an army of Utes, Shoshones, Navajos, and Paiutes and attacked Mormon livestock-raising settlements throughout central and southern Utah, determined to drive the ranchers from their country. The conflict was little advertised as it was happening, even within Utah, writes Peterson, in large part because the Mormon Church carefully disguised its existence; Brigham Young and other church leaders feared that the federal government would use the Indian uprising as a pretext to send in troops who, after the Indians had been properly chastised, might turn their attention to polygamists and other of the territory’s nonconformists. Quietly, then, Mormon militiamen battled Black Hawk’s people in a war that, Peterson holds, was “an anomaly in Western history.” It was an anomaly because in the territories bordering Utah frenzied campaigns against Indians were then being mounted (after a couple of miners were murdered in Colorado in 1863, for instance, federal troops slaughtered hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapahos in the Sand Creek Massacre), and by comparison Utah’s actions were conducted with much restraint. It was also an anomaly because Brigham Young’s agents, convinced that the Indians were somehow connected to the so-called lost tribes of Israel, sought to make peace at every turn and labored “to encourage the Latter-day Saints to lay down their vengeful feelings.” The frontier artist George Catlin, Peterson reveals, even went so far as to propose a grand Mormon-Indian alliance to battle the federal government as “mutual protection against the invading military forces which are entering the great Far West on every side.” That alliance never materialized. Neither, however, did the anti-Indian reprisals and vendettas that occurred elsewhere in 19th-century America. Although it is a lightly revised doctoral dissertation, Peterson’s book is accessible to—and highly recommended for—all readers with an interest in western history.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-87480-583-X

Page Count: 362

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

FRONT ROW AT THE TRUMP SHOW

The chief White House and Washington correspondent for ABC provides a ringside seat to a disaster-ridden Oval Office.

It is Karl to whom we owe the current popularity of a learned Latin term. Questioning chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, he followed up a perhaps inadvertently honest response on the matter of Ukrainian intervention in the electoral campaign by saying, “What you just described is a quid pro quo.” Mulvaney’s reply: “Get over it.” Karl, who has been covering Trump for decades and knows which buttons to push and which to avoid, is not inclined to get over it: He rightly points out that a reporter today “faces a president who seems to have no appreciation or understanding of the First Amendment and the role of a free press in American democracy.” Yet even against a bellicose, untruthful leader, he adds, the press “is not the opposition party.” The author, who keeps his eye on the subject and not in the mirror, writes of Trump’s ability to stage situations, as when he once called Trump out, at an event, for misrepresenting poll results and Trump waited until the camera was off before exploding, “Fucking nasty guy!”—then finished up the interview as if nothing had happened. Trump and his inner circle are also, by Karl’s account, masters of timing, matching negative news such as the revelation that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election with distractions away from Trump—in this case, by pushing hard on the WikiLeaks emails from the Democratic campaign, news of which arrived at the same time. That isn’t to say that they manage people or the nation well; one of the more damning stories in a book full of them concerns former Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, cut off at the knees even while trying to do Trump’s bidding.

No one’s mind will be changed by Karl’s book, but it’s a valuable report from the scene of an ongoing train wreck.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4562-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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