The Earth Is Weeping

The Earth Is Weeping

The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West

Book - 2016
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With the end of the Civil War, the nation recommenced its expansion onto traditional Indian tribal lands, setting off a wide-ranging conflict that would last more than three decades. In an exploration of the wars and negotiations that destroyed tribal ways of life even as they made possible the emergence of the modern United States, Peter Cozzens gives us both sides in comprehensive and singularly intimate detail. He illuminates the encroachment experienced by the tribes and the tribal conflicts over whether to fight or make peace, and explores the squalid lives of soldiers posted to the frontier and the ethical quandaries faced by generals who often sympathized with their native enemies. As the action moves from Kansas and Nebraska to the Southwestern desert to the Dakotas and the Pacific Northwest, we encounter a pageant of fascinating characters including Custer, Sherman, Grant, and a host of other military and political figures, as well as great native leaders such as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Red Cloud. For the first time The Earth Is Weeping brings them all together in the fullest account to date of how the West was won--and lost.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307958044
Branch Call Number: ANF 978.02 COZ
Characteristics: xxi, 544 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Mar 10, 2018

If you're of a certain age, you'll remember learning about Native Americans in school usually consisted of doing a report on a tribe, making buffalo or tipi crafts, and maybe visiting a recreated Indian village. I thought of Native Americans as monolithic, romantic, and cool, knowing nothing about the actual history of their treatment by whites, which is shameful, criminal, and homicidal. Thankfully, there has been a steady flow of literature to remedy the gap in our education. Ground zero is often Dee Brown's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," which this book references, but also finds some fault with. The author, who has also written extensively about the Civil War, covers a lot of ground and offers a lot of historical insight and context, adding fresh perspective to battles like Little Big Horn, massacres like Sand Creek, and iconic figures like Crazy Horse, Geronimo, and Sitting Bull. If you like this, I'd recommend "Blood and Thunder," "Empire of the Summer Moon," and "The Killing of Crazy Horse."

Jun 29, 2017

This is a remarkably well balanced and researched account of the wars between the Indian tribes and the United States Army. In hindsight, the struggle for the Indian way of life was doomed given the invention of the rail road, immigration pressure from pioneers seeking farmland, industrial society's desire for mineral wealth especially gold, and the mindless societal fads for buffalo fur resulting in the near extinction of the object of desire, the author keeps up the narrative well paced but thorough. He brings in first hand perspectives from all sides to illustrate points. After reading this account, one would be hard pressed to sterotype the protagonists. There were on all sides leaders that were honest and dishonest, brave and cowardly, stubborn and flexible, perceptive of the other side and malevolent to the other side. One element of the conflict that I had not realized was that the American political leaders come across at best in a decidedly mixed light. The Indian leaders generally did not fathom the odds against them and ultimately failed in leadership. In the end, there were a few incidences which are so tragic as to make the reading difficult.

Jun 20, 2017

A sad but revealing saga about the cultural and physical destruction of the western tribes by the dominant white culture of the mid to late 19th century. I was not aware prior to reading this how pervasive the inter and intratribal conflicts and betrayals were. For example, Pawnee scouts killing Sioux and Cheyenne for the US Army and Apache scouts of one tribe signing up with the Army to bring down another Apache tribe. An interesting contrast to "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" which I read in the 70s when I served in Vietnam.

May 19, 2017

A history of the Indian wars from the 1860's to 1890 (Wounded Knee), including all the major military campaigns and the notable leaders on both sides. Although the ending is well known, the contest was, at least in the beginning, less unequal than it now seems, and featured lots of colorful and remarkable personalities. Well worth reading for anyone interested in the history of the American West.

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