Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

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Macmillan, May 15, 2007 - History - 481 pages

Immediately recognized as a revelatory and enormously controversial book since its first publication in 1971, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is universally recognized as one of those rare books that forever changes the way its subject is perceived. Now repackaged with a new introduction from bestselling author Hampton Sides to coincide with a major HBO dramatic film of the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's classic, eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. A national bestseller in hardcover for more than a year after its initial publication, it has sold over four million copies in multiple editions and has been translated into seventeen languages.

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was won, and lost. It tells a story that should not be forgotten, and so must be retold from time to time.

 

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If you would like to understand American foreign policy read this.

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I continue to be amazed at how much impact Americans attribute to this book. Why did it take Dee Brown's Bury My Heart finally to accept a reality that had been there all along? Yes, it is a meticulously documented history of the genocide of Native Americans, characterized by lies, distortion and the bloodlust that white soldiers had acquired particularly, though not exclusively, thanks to the civil war. But why was this information news in the early seventies when the book came out? Except for the comprehensiveness and, perhaps some of the details, there is little in this book that I didn't read as a boy in Germany during the early sixties . Way back then, I was shocked at General Sheridan's statement that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." Only later I learned that some of the good people of Wyoming had named a town after him .
Dee Brown's most important contribution, rather than merely weaving the many details into a cohesive narrative, may have been that the book, due to its comprehensiveness, turned out to be a whole lot more unsettling than the story of one tribe alone could have been.Still, the information had been collected in smaller compilatioms and had been available for a long time. I'm just not so sure that "Manifest Destiny" didn't finally lose its grip on the American conscousness unti the publication of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
As an academic work in history, we should not read it uncritically. Not all fact adduced by Brown, regardless of whom they may cast a bad or good light on a person are undisputed. In this book, Brown certainly spends more intensity on the effort to show how confliced some of the Indian leaders themselves were. Brown is rather quick in depicting Indians who went out on raids of white people's settlements as going against the orders of the chief. Be that as it may, they were still of the same tribes, and knew what was expected from them.
I hate to place a cathartic book on an "essential reading list." Let's just say that if you read only one cathartic book over the next little while, this one could be it.
 

Contents

Their Manners Are Decorous and Praiseworthy
1
The Long Walk of the Navahos
13
CHAPTER TWO 1 Manuelito
17
Juanita wife of Manuelito
19
Navaho warrior of the 1860s
35
Little Crows War
37
CHAPTER THREE 4 Little Crow
41
Big Eagle
49
CHAPTER ELEVEN 18 Satanta
245
Lone Wolf
247
Kicking Bird
251
Ten Bears
259
White Horse
261
Quanah Parker
267
The War for the Black Hills
273
CHAPTER TWELVE 24 Sitting Bull
281

War Comes to the Cheyennes
67
CHAPTER FOUR 6 Cheyenne and Arapaho Chiefs in Denver
81
Little Raven
85
George Bent and his wife Magpie
93
Edmond Guerrier
95
Powder River Invasion
103
CHAPTER FIVE 10 Red Cloud
109
Red Clouds War
121
CHAPTER SIX 11 Spotted Tail
127
The Only Good Indian Is a Dead Indian
147
CHAPTER SEVEN 12 Roman Nose
155
Tosawi
171
The Rise and Fall of Donehogawa
175
CHAPTER EIGHT 14 Donehogawa Ely Parker
176
Cochise and the Apache Guerrillas
191
CHAPTER NINE 15 Cochise
195
Eskiminzin
203
The Ordeal of Captain Jack
219
CHAPTER TEN 17 Captain Jack
223
The War to Save the Buffalo
241
Gall
295
YoungManAfraidofHisHorses
301
Little Big Man
309
Crazy Horse
310
The Flight of the Nez Perces
315
CHAPTER THIRTEEN 32 Chief Joseph
319
Cheyenne Exodus
331
CHAPTER FOURTEEN 33 Dull Knife
337
Little Wolf
339
Standing Bear Becomes a Person
351
CHAPTER FIFTEEN 35 Standing Bear
361
The Utes Must Go
367
CHAPTER SIXTEEN 36 Ouray
369
Nicaagat Jack
375
Quinkent Douglas
378
Colorow
385
The Last of the Apache Chiefs
391
Dance of the Ghosts
415
Wounded Knee
439
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

A librarian for many years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dee Brown was the author of over twenty-five books on the American West and the Civil War. His Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, considered a classic in its field, was a New York Times bestseller for over a year, and has been translated into many languages. Dee Brown died in 2002.

Hampton Sides is editor-at-large for Outside magazine, and the author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder. He won the 2002 PEN USA Award for nonfiction.

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