Previous to reading this book I had an understanding of the white man's massacres of Native Indians, our unfair treatment of the Indian people, and of the broken treaties and promises that our government made with the various Indian tribes. Even so, I found reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee a disturbing eye opener. This book has more clearly brought home the harsh truth about how we settled the west than any other museum or documentary that I have ever seen. In Red Clouds words, "They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it." If you are interested in the plight of the American Indians as our country-expanded west, then I highly recommend this book.
This is such an emotionally moving book...many know about the loss of the American Indians, but this book really gives an in-depth account of all the activities and major figures involved in the making of this huge historical time period in our history. All the facts are fully documented & researched by the author, but are not just laid out in a dry summation-like form, every person and event mentioned is easily imagined by the reader and all the more heartwrenching for it.
From Amazon (fully agree with reviewer - they just express it better):
What can one say? This work, first printed in 1971, is still in print and still widely read, and it very much deserves to be. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is probably one of the most eloquent, intense and moving works of exposition I've ever read.
For the most part the author, Dee Brown, lets the records and the personal reports of the various participants in the events of the American Indian wars of the 19th Century speak for themselves. He creates thereby a narrative that is more riveting than any modern adventure novel and more poignant than even the finest of the Greek tragedies. The work is very well researched, with an excellent bibliography of the author's sources. It is also well illustrated, with photos or paintings of the various leaders of the native American tribes of the time. It is a veritable who's who of the native west. There are short biographies of many of the more important individuals. Names like Black Kettle of the Cheyennes, Little Crow of the Santee Sioux, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces ("I will fight no more forever,") Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa Sioux, and Cochise and Geronimo of the Chiricahua Apaches are among those most likely to be recognized by non-native Americans.
What I found most interesting was the extent to which the various tribes were able to hold out against the odds, even resoundingly defeating the US military that hounded them nearly to extinction. It is evident from even a quick reading that it was less military superiority than the policy of starving out the people by destruction of land, animals, and other property that brought about defeat of the tribes. The US military of the time made a war on women, children and the elderly, slaughtering even infants in surprise raids made in undeclared wars or in provoked confrontations. Starvation, freezing weather, and disease brought these proud people to their knees, not military might.
In these times of international conflict the tragic treatment of the native American population should be a cautionary tale of what can happen when the self righteous, the culturally narrow, the ambitious, and the greedy use the military to achieve their own agenda. The types of people responsible for the near eradication of a race of people in the 19th Century are still common enough today. In my opinion this book should be required reading for any American history course from junior high school level and beyond it. Only by raising the consciousness of the average citizen from youth onward can the specter of racism on this scale be avoided.
Pepper H. reviewed BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE on
A moving, tragic tale of American history. A shameful chapter in the story of Westward expansion and the Manifest Destiny mentally that brought death and destruction to American indian tribes, culminating with the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. It is easy to see why after all these years, this book is a classic.
I am quoting from the back cover. "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century."
Fascinating, very strong, powerful writing. A classic.
Glenda N. reviewed BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE on
If anyone want to know the truth about the injustices that the Indians suffered because of broken promises, surprise attacks and how the government lied all because of greed and progress, its in this book. If you think that what the Indians are getting now as compensation is not deserved, this book just might change your mind. I love this book and would highly recommend it.
We often hear the history of the opening of the West from the white man's perspective. This book tells how it was seen through Indian eyes, told in the words of great Indian chiefs and warriors. A real eye opener.