Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

Front Cover
Random House Large Print, 2006 - History - 861 pages
65 Reviews
In the fall of 1846 the venerable Navajo warrior Narbona, greatest of his people’s chieftains, looked down upon the small town of Santa Fe, the stronghold of the Mexican settlers he had been fighting his whole long life. He had come to see if the rumors were true—if an army of blue-suited soldiers had swept in from the East and utterly defeated his ancestral enemies. As Narbona gazed down on the battlements and cannons of a mighty fort the invaders had built, he realized his foes had been vanquished—but what did the arrival of these “New Men” portend for the Navajo?

Narbona could not have known that “The Army of the West,” in the midst of the longest march in American military history, was merely the vanguard of an inexorable tide fueled by a self-righteous ideology now known as “Manifest Destiny.” For twenty years the Navajo, elusive lords of a huge swath of mountainous desert and pasturelands, would ferociously resist the flood of soldiers and settlers who wished to change their ancient way of life or destroy them.

Hampton Sides’s extraordinary book brings the history of the American conquest of the West to ringing life. It is a tale with many heroes and villains, but as is found in the best history, the same person might be both. At the center of it all stands the remarkable figure of Kit Carson—the legendary trapper, scout, and soldier who embodies all the contradictions and ambiguities of the American experience in the West. Brave and clever, beloved by his contemporaries, Carson was an illiterate mountain man who twice married Indian women and understood and respected the tribes better than any other American alive. Yet he was also a cold-blooded killer who willingly followed orders tantamount to massacre. Carson’s almost unimaginable exploits made him a household name when they were written up in pulp novels known as “blood-and-thunders,” but now that name is a bitter curse for contemporary Navajo, who cannot forget his role in the travails of their ancestors.
  

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Review: Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson & the Conquest of the American West

User Review  - Hayden Teo - Goodreads

This is the single best book on history I have ever read, period. Rarely do I say it, but it is a book that should be read by everyone. Sides balances meticulous research with powerful storytelling in a book that weaves a sprawling tapestry of one of America's most dramatic periods of change. Read full review

Review: Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

User Review  - Chrissie - Goodreads

This review is not a summary of the events discussed in the book itself. Instead read the book to learn of America's expansion westward to the Pacific in the middle of the 1800sand of fascinating ... Read full review

Contents

A Perfect Butchery
150
The Fire of Montezuma
156
Your Duty Mr Carson
163
Daggers in Every Look
179
Men with Ears Down to Their Ankles
190
2 The Hall of Final Ruin
197
The New Men
212
The Crim Metronome 217
232
The Death Knot
390
Men without Eyes
401
Blood and Thunder
424
kkkk
459
Fortress Rock
610
The Long Walk
633
Adobe Walls
652
The Condition of the Tribes
671

The Devils Turnpike
245
Our Red Children
265
Cold Steel
269
El Crepusculo
290
American Mercury
324
Time at Last Sets All Things Even
334
A Broken Country
347
The Finest Head I Ever Saw
381
Crossing Purgatory
685
In Beauty We Walk
699
A Note on the Sources
710
Selected Bibliography
771
Acknowledgments
808
Art Credits
831
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

\A native of Memphis, HAMPTON SIDES is editor-at-large for Outside magazine and the author of the international bestseller Ghost Soldiers, which was the basis for the 2005 Miramax film The Great Raid. Ghost Soldiers won the 2002 PEN USA Award for nonfiction and the 2002 Discover Award from Barnes & Noble, and his magazine work has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. Hampton is also the author of Americana and Stomping Grounds. A graduate of Yale with a B.A. in history, he lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons.

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