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The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend Audio CD – March 15, 2014
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About the Author
Bob Drury, a Mens Health contributing editor and chief military correspondent, has been nominated for three National Magazine Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and Darfur, among other sites. He is also the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous nonfiction books, including The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of US Marines in Combat, and the recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundations 2010 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award for nonfiction.
Tom Clavin is a New York Times bestselling author of books of history and nonfiction.
- Publisher : Recorded Books, Inc. and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (March 15, 2014)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1664624252
- ISBN-13 : 978-1664624252
- Item Weight : 8.6 ounces
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2018
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A lot of things contributed to the all out war against the U.S. Army. The dribble of white settlers heading west became a flood of wagons after gold was discovered in California. Also the wholesale killing of the buffalos and the spreading of diseases that Indians had no immunity for didn't set well with the Great Plains tribes. During the mid 1860s, the white man would reduce the buffalo population from 30 million to 1,000 in the next forty years. The buffalo meat was important to the Indians, but worthless to the white man. Broken treaties and conniving Indian Agents added fuel to the fire. In 1856 all the tribes of Lakota met to form united front to stop the white threat. It is said that 10,000 Indians attended that meeting. The Lakota Indians are not farmers, nor do they stay in one place long. They are raiders of other Indian tribes, horse stealers, and buffalo hunters. They only tolerated the Cheyenne. The Lakota believe they are warriors and want to stay that way. They take pride in Counting Coup (touching an enemy with a coup stick during battle and leaving unharmed). They heavily attacked white wagons heading west with one wagon out of eleven never making it passed the Rockies. Things got worse for the pioneers in the west when the U.S. Army left the Great Plains to fight the Civil War in 1861.
After the Civil War, many soldiers were released from duty, leaving very few to defend Fort Reno, Fort Phil Kearny, and Fort C.F. Smith, which were there to protect the migration of the Easterners, who were following the Bozeman Trail to Virginia City, Montana and then to the Oregon Trail . The U.S. Army was heavily outnumbered and were slaughtered and mutilated on many occasions. Red Cloud's battle with Captain Fetterman's 2nd Battalion of the 18th Infantry Regiment is epic. I thought the savagery of the book was a bit too much, but I guess the authors wanted to tell it like it was. The sidebar characters were strong. I enjoyed the Mountain man, Jim `Old Gabe' Bridger, a friend of the famous, Jedediah Smith. I admired the tactics Crazy Horse used to lure the U.S. Army into ambushes. Most of Red Cloud's thoughts were conveyed to a French Canadian fur trader named Sam Deon, who did the great chief's autobiography. Sam Deon was probably the only white man who was befriended and protected by Red Cloud. Some of the incidents in this book inspired other novels; such as, Nelson Gile, who drove a herd of 3,000 longhorns and a wagon train from Texas to Montana, while fighting thousands of hostile Indians. This episode became Larry McMurtry's famous novel, 'Lonesome Dove' .
Finally, I thought the authors slightly favored the Lakota (whose favorite meal was boiled dog and buffalo tongue), but in retrospect, I guess the book was fair. The White man might of won the West, but he paid dearly for it in human life. This was a non-fiction history book, but Drury and Clavin put so much excitement in the chapters that I thought I was reading fiction. And that is exactly how I like to read history. This book is a must for the Wild West fans and history buffs. I highly recommend this enlightening narrative.
Drury and Clavin strive to present a straightforward, unvarnished look at their subjects and push back against the idea that before protracted contact with whites, Native Americans lived as idyllic pacifists. Tribes had allies and enemies and some of them were very comfortable inflicting violence against the latter. Red Cloud was brought up among his mother's people, the Oglala Lakota, one of the more aggressive branches of the greater Lakota nation, and was groomed for leadership by his mother's uncle. As he grew up, his people were pushed farther and farther from their traditional territory and he fought against enemy tribes in his youth, gaining renown, before turning his attention to the threats posed by the continually promise-breaking whites.
After a series of skirmishes, things came to a head at Fort Phil Kearney. It was a perfect storm: angry at yet another incursion into their land, the Lakota were able to ally with other tribes. The leadership at the fort was both arrogant and foolhardy. Red Cloud was a smarter tactician than his opponents. And the United States was forced to retreat, to abandon its forts. But it lasted less than a decade. The book covers the immediate aftermath of the battle, but only touches on the long run: Red Cloud, taking a trip to Washington, DC, realized the scale of the threat to his people and the ultimate hopelessness of continuing the fight, and led those that would follow him onto the reservation.
Pretty much any book about Native American history is inevitably compared to Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee simply because of that book's prominence. And I'd say this book is an excellent companion. It doesn't have, and honestly doesn't try for, the scope of Bury of My Heart, which covers more tribes over a longer time period. Instead, it takes a little known episode (I'd never heard of the Fetterman Fight) and explains it, placing its people and events into a larger context. And the book succeeds at this task, developing not only Red Cloud and to a lesser extent, his young protege Crazy Horse, as compelling and sympathetic characters, but also presenting the life of the Army fort, populated not just with soldiers but with families. No one is a cardboard cutout villain.
That being said, this book does occasionally get a little dry. I know some people are fascinated with military history and can happily read about tactics and battles for hours, but I am not one of those people. I find it deeply boring to read about attack techniques, and so I did experience waning interest when I think I was supposed to be the most engaged, during the climactic battle itself. I also found myself wanting more of the aftermath, more of Red Cloud's long life after this particular point. Overall, though, it's an interesting look at a part of history that's not well-understood by most potential readers, and I'd definitely recommend it as a way of broadening one's knowledge base about the formation of the United States as we know it today.