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Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

Average Rating 4
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2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Amazing, jaw dropping, and heart-rending!!!

I am not a history lover but I could not put this book down! Hampton Sides is so thorough in organizing all the insighful facts of this story yet keeps it so very human and interesting. It would floor me over and over again leaving me reading passages of it out loud to ...
I am not a history lover but I could not put this book down! Hampton Sides is so thorough in organizing all the insighful facts of this story yet keeps it so very human and interesting. It would floor me over and over again leaving me reading passages of it out loud to my family. I had thought of Kit Carson as a sort of made-up cowboy figure. His story, and those that surrounded him, needs and deserves this masterful retelling. It left me thankful for my own life yet in awe of the wildness and hardship that much of the United States was formed within. Sides does a great job of giving equal time and admiration for both the Indians and the early settlers. I love how messy and complicated it all is. A must read!

posted by glorygirlVC on October 1, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Deja Vu

Hampton Sides goes out of his way to praise Thomas Dunlay in his acknowledgements as well he should. The book is almost a twin of Dunlay's "Kit Carson and the Indians", published by the University of Nebaraska Press in 2000. Page after page and source after source ape...
Hampton Sides goes out of his way to praise Thomas Dunlay in his acknowledgements as well he should. The book is almost a twin of Dunlay's "Kit Carson and the Indians", published by the University of Nebaraska Press in 2000. Page after page and source after source apes Dunlay's work. In fact, Sides' last page in his book is almost the same as Dunlay's (sans Chapter on Conclusion) and it seems to me that he may have even got the title of his book from reading Chapter 1, page 13 of Dunlay's book. There is no new information presented here save for a few hearsay details given by Navajo informants. I was very disappointed to have wasted my reading time on something that I already read back in 2000.

posted by DavidS-Albuquerque on July 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    Amazing, jaw dropping, and heart-rending!!!

    I am not a history lover but I could not put this book down! Hampton Sides is so thorough in organizing all the insighful facts of this story yet keeps it so very human and interesting. It would floor me over and over again leaving me reading passages of it out loud to my family. I had thought of Kit Carson as a sort of made-up cowboy figure. His story, and those that surrounded him, needs and deserves this masterful retelling. It left me thankful for my own life yet in awe of the wildness and hardship that much of the United States was formed within. Sides does a great job of giving equal time and admiration for both the Indians and the early settlers. I love how messy and complicated it all is. A must read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Kit Carson - Forest Gump on a Mule

    Kit Carson seemed to be everyplace. Everytime there was a desparate situation, Kit Carson showed up just in the nick of time and did an extraordinary deed to save the day. And the charming part of the story is that Kit Carson himself thought he was just "doing his job".

    Great insight into the Indian tribes, the Mexican history of New Mexico. The amazing story is Carson riding a mule from California to Washington to deliver documents to the President and then riding back.... three times!!

    A heroic story told very well.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Great read!

    I didn't realize this was 553 pages. It's mind boggling all the action seen in Kit Carson's life and the travels he made throught Indian country in those hostile times. It truly depicts the personalities, the arrogance and downright stupidity of some of the army brass attempting to administer conquered territory. They are much better at fighting than monitoring and overseeing conquered people, be they Mexicans or American Indians. I highly recommend this book as historical information to all of you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Deja Vu

    Hampton Sides goes out of his way to praise Thomas Dunlay in his acknowledgements as well he should. The book is almost a twin of Dunlay's "Kit Carson and the Indians", published by the University of Nebaraska Press in 2000. Page after page and source after source apes Dunlay's work. In fact, Sides' last page in his book is almost the same as Dunlay's (sans Chapter on Conclusion) and it seems to me that he may have even got the title of his book from reading Chapter 1, page 13 of Dunlay's book. There is no new information presented here save for a few hearsay details given by Navajo informants. I was very disappointed to have wasted my reading time on something that I already read back in 2000.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Southwestern Tragedy

    Hampton Sides is the rare writer who writes both literature and history in the same book. He is also balanced, fair, and sympathetic to both his Indian and white subjects. it would be easy to condemn kit Carson, General Carleton, or many of the others involved in the Navajo debacle but Sides refrains. He resists the temptation to place 21st century values on 19th century frontiersmen and native Americans. I found myself comparing Blood and Thunder to Son of the Morning Star, another western classic. Even though it sometimes tries to cover too much ground, any serious reader of history will be rewarded by a trip through its pages.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    The complex history of the American West comes alive...

    This book reads like a good novel. It is well researched and documented. The author is intellegent: I thoroughly enjoyed his vocabulary and command of the English language. His view was well-balanced glorifying neither the white settlers, the hispanic settlers, nor the natives. Excellent. I will seek more books by Hampton Sides.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2008

    Interesting Book

    Kit Carson: a dedicated soldier and man who loved the Native American way of life. He was at the forefront of much that changed the American West. This book gives a great history of the man and the orders he carried out but I would have liked to read more about his personal life. A great beginning to learning more about Kit Carson. Now I want to read more about the other side of the story: especially from the perspective of the Navaho and Manuelito. I think it's terrible what our ancestors did to the Native Americans but exciting history to read about nonetheless.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    I found this book to be well written and an easy read. It contai

    I found this book to be well written and an easy read. It contains a vast amount of information on the so-called taming of the Southwest. Any student of American western history will enjoy the book.
    However, as a bio of Kit Carson, I found the treatise lacking. The first part of the book contains less information on Carson and more on the travels of Fremont, more history involving Kearny and more insight into the Navajo headman Narbona. Carson seems but a minor actor on the big stage. And then he disappears altogether. For about 50 pages (starting on page 246), you can only find one mention of Carson and that in passing.
    Later in the book, during the battle for Fort Craig, the details of the actions on both sides are well documented. Yet Carson is treated in an anecdotally and chronologically poor way. While the author leads us into the battle near Fort Craig, which took place in 1862, we are presented with two stories of Carson in Albuquerque years earlier, another about an 1853 trip to California, an oral history dictated in 1856, another 1853 story, and finally information on Carson’s activities in the 1850s before we can get back to the battle in 1862.
    The last part of the book does contain much more information on Carson and the campaign against the Navajos. But if you are interested in the Carson story, start reading on page 411, or better, try another book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Highly recommended - very balanced!

    Hampton Sides's Blood and Thunder is the most comprehensive and balanced account of Native America (particularly Navajo) - U.S. Army interaction that I know of. I reread it and give it as gifts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    Great History that reads like a novel

    Great way to get a lot of historical information in an entertaining way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2013

    highly recommended

    This book was recommended by several of the Doctors that I work with and their wives. Also several couples at church recommended it. My Husband is reading it 1st as he received it for Christmas from me and I will read it next. He is enjoying all the history of the area we live in that is in the book. It is amazing how far these people traveled in an age when travel was not simple. Great History novel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Alpha Den

    Suspect and Blades den.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    very informative

    This book was great not just because of the amazing story of Kit Carson but also on westward expansion. A must read for any history buff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Great Accounting

    Very well written, and if you like stories about the opening of the West, this is you're kind of book.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!

    Mr. Sides gives a lot of detail about the westward expansion of the U.S. This book goes beyond facts and figures. He gives a lot of details about the people involved and the possible thoughts that drove them to make their (sometimes fatal) decisions. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    I learned a few things....

    Very informative, very engaging and a very entertaining and easy read.

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    Loved it.

    Hampton Sides can really tell a story that keeps you reading. Lots of action and drama. Kit Carson was a remarkable person!

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    A good read

    I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting tale about Kit Carson and the interesting life he led. I love books about the old west and this was a good one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2011

    Fantastic book!

    I doesn't read like a history book but provides the information on one.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Real Kit Carson

    Hampton Sides does an excellent job of presenting the man and his times. His style is quite engaging and mirrors his portrayal of Carson as a competent character yet very humble and focused on purpose. Sides balances the greater history of the US's manifest destiny and development during this historical period with Carson's involvement in this process and his own life and person. There is much to reflect upon in terms of US history, US relationship with both Mexicans and Native Americans, and US development as a nation: Sides gives one pause.

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