Across the Wide River

Overview

This historical novel for young adult readers tells the story of an American Indian boy and his response to his father's death in the Korean War. The major events of the story are true. In 1950 a Winnebago Indian war hero, John R. Rice, was killed in Korea. Hewitt's novel is about the family's long wait for the body to be returned to the United States and the disappointment of Rice's son, John Jr., at the refusal of officials in Sioux City, Iowa, to bury an Indian soldier in the...

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Overview

This historical novel for young adult readers tells the story of an American Indian boy and his response to his father's death in the Korean War. The major events of the story are true. In 1950 a Winnebago Indian war hero, John R. Rice, was killed in Korea. Hewitt's novel is about the family's long wait for the body to be returned to the United States and the disappointment of Rice's son, John Jr., at the refusal of officials in Sioux City, Iowa, to bury an Indian soldier in the local "whites only" cemetery.

As John Jr. shuttles between reservation and town, he is educated both in school and by his grandfather's stories of the heroism of Crazy Horse and Geronimo. He tests himself with his own rite of passage, a swim across the Missouri River that confirms his worthiness in the eyes of his peers.

"Sympathetic to Indian concerns, it also touches on broader issues of identity and 'being oneself' with which many younger readers can identify."—Thomas Clarkin, University of Texas, author of Federal Indian Policy in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations

Straddling the white world where he lives and attends school and the Winnebago reservation where he spends summers with his grandparents, a boy must face discrimination head-on when a whites-only cemetary refuses to bury his father, a Korean War hero.

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Editorial Reviews

The Annals of Iowa
Across the Wide River is rich in symbolism and holds important lessons for readers of all ages. . . . I highly recommend Across the Wide River for readers both young and old interested in American Indian history and culture or twentieth-century Iowa and Nebraska history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826329783
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 3/5/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 104
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William Hewitt is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He is the author of a number of articles on Native Americans and the West.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Chapter 1: The Res
Chapter 2: The Punch
Chapter 3: White Time
Chapter 4: Off the Res
Chapter 5: Hidden Meanings
Chapter 6: The Red Road
Chapter 7: The Sweat
Chapter 8: The Circle of Life
Chapter 9: A Gross Insult
Chapter 10: What Now?
Chapter 11: Killed . . . Buying Time with Blood
Chapter 12: "Geronimo!"
Chapter 13: A Greater Honor . . . ?
Chapter 14: How Will It Look to the World?
Chapter 15: Counting Coup
Postscript
Bibliography
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