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The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend Hardcover – November 5, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,270 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For all of our culture&'s fascination with the American Indian, it&'s almost impossible to believe that one of the most well-known Indians of his time, the Oglala Sioux warrior chief Red Cloud, could be largely forgotten until now. Yet that&'s exactly what we discover in this illuminating account by Drury and Clavin (Halsey&'s Typhoon). As the de facto leader of the Western Sioux nation—an unprecedented feat in itself given the Sioux&'s rigorous individualism and a culture consisted of fluid, haphazard tribal groups—Red Cloud and his army stand alone in history as the only Indians to ever defeat the United States in a war, which took all of two years (1866–1868). A history inconveniently at odds with the accepted American narrative, the manuscript for Red Cloud&'s 1893 autobiography lay in a drawer at the Nebraska State Historical Society into the 1990s. Thanks to that work and the authors&' extensive, additional scholarship, readers now have access to a much more thorough, comprehensive understanding of the Plains Indians&' brutal and tragically futile efforts to protect their land and way of living from the progress of civilization. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel-Weber Associates. (Nov.)

Review

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A SALON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

TRUE WEST MAGAZINE'S BEST BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR

“A ripping yarn . . . A quintessentially Western tale of bold exploits, tough characters, brutal conditions and a lost way of life, this sounds like the sort of story that practically tells itself. Yet you only realize how little justice most popular histories do to their source material when you come across a book, like this one, that does everything right. It’s customary to say of certain nonfiction books — gussied up with plenty of 'color' and psychological speculation — that they 'read like a novel,' but truth be told, most of the time we’d have to be talking about a pretty mediocre novel.
The Heart of Everything That Is, on the other hand, resembles the good ones. There were times, turning its pages, when I could almost smell the pines of the Black Hills, feel the icy wind tearing down from Canada across the prairie and hear the hooves of the buffalo pounding the earth.” -- Laura Miller ― Salon

“Exquisitely told . . . Remarkably detailed . . . The story of Red Cloud's unusual guile and strategic genius makes the better-known Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse pale in comparison. . . . This is no knee-jerk history about how the West was won, or how the West was lost. This historical chronicle is unabashed, unbiased and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled. . . . A compelling and fiery narrative.” ―
USA Today

“Vivid . . . Lively . . . A tale of lies, trickery, and brutal slaughter . . . In telling the story of Red Cloud, Messrs. Drury and Clavin appropriately bring a number of the larger-than-life figures from that time onstage . . . [and] chronicle in considerable detail the shameful treatment of the Indians across the plains and the destruction of their ancient way of life.” ―
Christopher Corbett, The Wall Street Journal

“A page turner . . . Drawing on archives, letters, and a long-lost autobiography written toward the end of Red Cloud’s life, the narrative has a remarkable immediacy . . . [and] the narrative sweep of a great Western.” ―
Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe

“Valuable . . . Meticulous . . . [A] remarkable story . . . The writers don’t shy away from the atrocities on both sides of the gruesome, long-running conflict between the Indians and the U.S. forces. But when, for the umpteenth time, U.S. officials break a contract as soon as the glint of gold is spotted in the hills, one cannot help but feel that there’s all the more reason to celebrate one of the Sioux’s most impressive fighters.” ―
Smithsonian

“The authors paint a full and vivid picture of the Oglala Sioux leader . . . The story of Red Cloud is presented here with all the tension and excitement of a good Western novel. . . . The narrative is gripping but not sentimental, and it is well-sourced, drawing, for example, on Red Cloud’s autobiography, lost for nearly a century, and the papers of many others who knew Red Cloud’s War.” ―
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Astounding . . . A tour de force of historical storytelling . . .
The Heart of Everything That Is is grand in scope and beautifully observed. . . . Together, [Drury and Clavin] have managed a feat of scholarship that interweaves ethnological brilliance and an insightful reinterpretation of Indian culture from the point of view of the Sioux.” ― The Wichita Eagle

“Riveting . . . Meticulously researched . . . One of the biggest stories in American history . . . The authors uncovered a wealth of material from diaries and letters written by U.S. military officers and their wives and children, and wilderness trackers, plus a treasure trove of historical information gleaned from the letters and journals of the pioneers who crossed the Great Plains during the 1800s.” ―
Indian Country Today

“A gripping narrative . . . This fascinating book is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of the Old West.” ―
Library Journal, starred review

"Comprehensive . . . For all of our culture’s fascination with the American Indian, it’s almost impossible to believe that one of the most well-known Indians of his time, the Oglala Sioux warrior chief Red Cloud, could be largely forgotten until now. Yet that’s exactly what we discover in this illuminating account." ―
Publishers Weekly

“Histories of the Sioux Wars have too often cast all other warriors into the shadow of Crazy Horse. Drury and Clavin shine welcome light on Red Cloud, a brilliant leader and military strategist whose life was an important part of this brutal and decisive movement in America’s history. This is an absorbing and evocative examination of the endgame in the three-hundred-year war between Native Americans and settlers of European descent.” -- Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain

“The word ‘epic’ is overused these days. Not here. This is big, blazing history, writ large on the High Plains. Clavin and Drury handle it beautifully. Through the striking historical figure of Red Cloud, they tell story of the Sioux Nation and of the fight for the American West.” -- S. C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon

“Red Cloud is one of the great figures in nineteenth-century America’s tortured relationships with the many peoples who occupied our country before we took it. Finally, there is a portrait worthy of the man, fully drawn and realized, all the complicated undertow acknowledged and embraced.” -- Ken Burns, filmmaker and coauthor of The Civil War

“Finally we have the full story of Red Cloud, told without the sentimentality and delusional romance that too many white historians bring to the American native tribes. The Powder River country of the West entrapped two equally objectionable groups—the soldiers that Washington sent to decimate the tribes, and the tribes themselves, who had been slaughtering each other for centuries. That stirring but bloodthirsty era deserves an honest treatment like this.” -- Rinker Buck ―
author of Flight of Passage
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster; First edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1451654669
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1451654660
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.48 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,270 ratings

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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J. Samuel
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly well written, but has a profound white American ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars The first book I read on the subject like most people was dee browns bury my heart at ...
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