BLACK ROBE: The Life of Pierre-Jean De Smet by John Upton Terrell

BLACK ROBE: The Life of Pierre-Jean De Smet

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Father Pierre-Jean De Smet was a frontier missionary, explorer and pioneer for over thirty years in the western wilderness. He was known as Black Robe and his eats at peace-making among the Indians became legendary. Somehow, though, history has failed to accord Father De Smet the place he earned while serving four Presidents on various missions he alone could have accomplished. (And this is despite the fact that he wrote five books of considerable historical value. Was he ignored because American history sounds best when disassociated from the Church?) His reatest mission was the government's Peace Commission sent out by the Indian Department in 1868 to arrange peace terms, sign treaties and distribute largesse. The Sioux had gone into hiding no one knew where. Father De Smet went alone into their country, located them, parleyed with Sitting Bull and other chiefs, and won them over by their faith in Black Robe. Soon, however, Grant took office and condoned every kind of rapine of Indian territories and treaty-breaking. But Father De Smet had anticipated each such horror and died broken-hearted... On a parallel and a par with this writer's earlier books of frontier Americans, Journey into Darkness and Furs by Astor.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1964
Publisher: Doubleday