The Last Indian War

The Last Indian War

The Nez Perce Story

Book - 2009
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This newest volume in Oxford's acclaimed Pivotal Moments series offers an unforgettable portrait of the Nez Perce War of 1877, the last great Indian conflict in American history. It was, as Elliott West shows, a tale of courage and ingenuity, of desperate struggle and shattered hope, ofshort-sighted government action and a doomed flight to freedom.To tell the story, West begins with the early history of the Nez Perce and their years of friendly relations with white settlers. In an initial treaty, the Nez Perce were promised a large part of their ancestral homeland, but the discovery of gold led to a stampede of settlement within the NezPerce land. Numerous injustices at the hands of the US government combined with the settlers' invasion to provoke this most accomodating of tribes to war. West offers a riveting account of what came next: the harrowing flight of 800 Nez Perce, including many women, children and elderly, across1500 miles of mountainous and difficult terrain. He gives a full reckoning of the campaigns and battles--and the unexpected turns, brilliant stratagems, and grand heroism that occurred along the way. And he brings to life the complex characters from both sides of the conflict, including cavalrymen,officers, politicians, and--at the center of it all--the Nez Perce themselves (the Nimiipuu, "true people"). The book sheds light on the war's legacy, including the near sainthood that was bestowed upon Chief Joseph, whose speech of surrender, "I will fight no more forever," became as celebrated asthe Gettysburg Address.Based on a rich cache of historical documents, from government and military records to contemporary interviews and newspaper reports, The Last Indian War offers a searing portrait of a moment when the American identity - who was and who was not a citizen - was being forged.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009
ISBN: 9780195136753
Characteristics: xxix, 397 p. : ill., maps, plans ; 24 cm


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Jun 19, 2018

The author does a great job of explaining how post Civil War Reconstruction and the colonization of the West were two sides of the same coin, as well the paradox of freeing the slaves while exterminating the natives’ way of life. Well-told and thorough, this is the most satisfying book I have read describing this era.

Dec 20, 2011

This is one of the most interesting/entertaining pop history books I've read in years. The author does a remarkable job of placing the history of the Nez Perce in the context of wider American history. This book covers a lot of ground and would make my list for required reading about the westward expansion.


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