THE LONG DEATH by Ralph K. Andrist


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(YA) The Long Death recounts the last days of the Plains Indians and is a tragic indictment of white civilization and its endless breaking of treaties. Until 1860 the West was called the Great American Desert and the Gold Rush merely lent veracity to the fable. Much of this land was ""permanently"" granted to the Indians and 90,000 Eastern Indians (mainly agrarian) were forcibly transferred to the forlorn territory. Then white man's smallpox decimated them, followed by cholera. The Army behaved with incredible bestiality and the Indians were forced to reciprocate by attacking wagon trains and jumping trappers. Meanwhile, the cash awarded more peaceful Indians for their land was instantly taken. They starved, and one trader, Andrew Myrick, sneered, ""Let them eat grass."" As the wars of the plains developed and grew in fury, the white man's boundless misunderstanding of the Indian became so great that only retribution could follow such invincible pride and ignorance. The drama of Little Big Horn and Custer's defeat is detailed at length and admirably without a trace of saloon art during the final tragedy. The last Indian losses, at Wounded Knee Creek (S.D.) in 1890, left the Indians with a terminal disillusionment from which they never recovered. The Long Death is an impressive history of misery.

Publisher: Macmillan