BN.com Gift Guide

The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek: A Tragic Clash Between White and Native America

Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Kluger brings to life a bloody clash between Native Americans and white settlers in the 1850s Pacific Northwest. After he was appointed the first governor of the state of Washington, Isaac Ingalls Stevens had one goal: to persuade the Indians of the Puget Sound region to leave their ancestral lands for inhospitable reservations. But Stevens's program—marked by threat and misrepresentation—outraged the Nisqually tribe and its chief, Leschi, sparking the native resistance ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$13.72
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $4.24   
  • New (5) from $9.63   
  • Used (7) from $4.24   
The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek: A Tragic Clash Between White and Native America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price

Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Kluger brings to life a bloody clash between Native Americans and white settlers in the 1850s Pacific Northwest. After he was appointed the first governor of the state of Washington, Isaac Ingalls Stevens had one goal: to persuade the Indians of the Puget Sound region to leave their ancestral lands for inhospitable reservations. But Stevens's program—marked by threat and misrepresentation—outraged the Nisqually tribe and its chief, Leschi, sparking the native resistance movement. Tragically, Leschi's resistance unwittingly turned his tribe and himself into victims of the governor's relentless wrath. The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is a riveting chronicle of how violence and rebellion grew out of frontier oppression and injustice.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“More than just another tragic story of the American Indian, more than a story of victory and defeat, of good and evil. . . . A powerful human story, as necessary today as ever.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“An eloquent account of a massacre’s legacies as well as its history.”
The New York Times Book Review

“By focusing on one tribe’s historic struggle, Kluger shines a light on our nation’s deplorable treatment of its native people.”
The Seattle Times
 
“Meticulously researched, elegantly written and sophisticated, the book uses this all but forgotten episode in American history to give a human face to the injustices visited on Indians in treaty-making, on the battlefield and, surprisingly, in the courtroom.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A close and fascinating look at one treaty. . . . With precision and vigor, Kluger examines the circumstances of the crime and trials.” —The Oregonian
 
“Colorful. . . . Kluger’s recitation of these events can be seen as an upbeat refusal to treat a historical tragedy as irredeemable. . . . He’s canny enough to realize what’s lost in a one-sided telling, and compassionate enough to make sense of the doings on all sides.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“The Puget Sound used to belong to a handful of small tribes including the Nisqually, whose chief in the 1850s welcomed the arrival of whites who wanted to fish, farm, and cut timber. What happened next is the harrowing story told by Richard Kluger in The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek, named after the one-sided treaty that stole the homeland of the Indians. Kluger is a careful researcher and skilled narrator who confronts the injustice of this land-theft head-on, but ends his tale on a note that cannot be called sad.”
—Thomas Powers, author of The Killing of Crazy Horse
 
“Kluger’s aim in providing the particulars of this tragedy [is] to help readers conceive the depth of the pain visited upon American Indians by white conquest. . . . This account’s chief value is in its vivid illustration of an important but overlooked chapter in our region’s history.”
Tacoma News Tribune
 
“It’s probably politically incorrect to say so, but Richard Kluger’s exquisite recreation of this little known case of historical injustice against the Native American Nisqually tribe and their chief, Leschi, is as gripping as the bloodiest tale of cowboys and Indians. What’s more, along the way, this investigative history raises and profoundly illuminates the critical moral, political, and legal issues involved.”
—Victor Navasky, author of Kennedy Justice
 
“Kluger’s solidly sourced narrative and its tenor of indignation will captivate readers of frontier and American Indian history.”
Booklist
 
“A vivid portrait of the tragic patterns that defined white settlement and Indian resistance across the American continent. Trust betrayed, white mendacity and vainglory, brutality on both sides—all make for a deeply moving and unforgettable story.”
—Kate Buford, author of Native American Son
 
“Well-researched and beautifully written. . . . Valuable for those interested in how the final stages of the concept of Manifest Destiny played out.”
Library Journal
 
“Richard Kluger relates how the West was won—that is, the ongoing white conquest of Native America—in a book of extraordinary scholarship, insight, and sensitivity. This is a tragic narrative, replete with unfulfilled promises, forced removals (ethnic cleansing), betrayals, judicial murders, and the sham of treaty making. Vividly told, it is an engrossing read, and the voice of the losers is omnipresent and eloquent.”
—Leon Litwack, author of Trouble in Mind
 

David Waldstreicher
…a worthy spinoff of [Kluger's] Seizing Destiny, which described the active and often ugly process of taking the continent…Kluger's recitation of these events can be seen as an upbeat refusal to treat a historical tragedy as irredeemable. Usually, Indians tend to disappear from histories about them—even when the blame for their suffering is placed on others. The Nisqually, as Kluger shows, have not disappeared, and The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is an eloquent account of a massacre's legacies as well as its history.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In the mid–19th century, the rainy shores of Puget Sound were among America's last frontiers--and the site of a brief but fierce war fought in 1855–1856 between the Nisqually tribe and the territory's militia and army. With vivid detail, Kluger (Simple Justice) examines the encounter, beginning with the benchmark 1853 treaty of Medicine Creek and its ambitious architect, Gov. Isaac Stevens, who "bloodlessly wrested formal title to 100,000 square miles." Despite scant source materials, the author sketches a portrait of Leschi, the Nisqually chief, whose resistance to the treaty placed him in direct confrontation with Stevens. After Leschi's arrest for allegedly killing a militiaman, Stevens engineered the chief's 1856 prosecution--and ultimate conviction and execution. (Leschi's final statement is heartrending: "I do not know anything about your laws, I have supposed that the killing of armed men in war time was not murder. If it was, then soldiers who killed Indians were guilty of murder too.") The conclusion, the 2004 exoneration of Leschi's actions by an unofficial historical court, followed by the launch of the tribe's Red Wind casino, winds up being a redemptive postscript to an affecting chapter of regional history. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning (Ashes to Ashes) author Kluger (www.richardkluger.com) applies his solid research and writing skills to this compelling story of the 1853–57 conflict between expansionist America and the Native Americans of the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Kluger focuses on key personalities, in particular the first Washington State governor, Isaac Ingalls Stevens, and Leschi, chief of the small Nisqually nation. As often happened in these encounters, the Puget Sound Indians were persuaded to turn over their ancestral lands to the federal government and were relocated to reservations on poor land unsuitable for hunting, fishing, or grazing. The inevitable result was rebellion and violence, ending with Leschi's murder conviction and execution. An interesting epilog covers the 2004 retrial that posthumously exonerated Leschi. Voice actor Alan Sklar's (see Behind the Mike, LJ 3/1/09) solemn narration enhances this fascinating albeit painful reminder of the sordid, shadowy history of the U.S. government's oppression of Native Americans. Essential for history buffs and teachers. ["Well-researched and beautifully written…recommended for readers interested in the history of the Pacific Northwest," read the review of the Knopf hc, LJ 1/11.—Ed.]—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Kirkus Reviews

Intense history of a vicious confrontation between whites and Indians in 1850s Washington Territory.

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and journalist Kluger (Seizing Destiny: The Relentless Expansion of American Territory, 2007, etc.) writes accessible prose and turns up fascinating obscure records, but readers will quickly suspect that this story doesn't end well. A central figure, Isaac Stevens (1818–1862), became the first governor of the Washington Territory in 1853. His major task was to facilitate white settlement by removing indigenous tribes. To achieve this, he sent representatives to survey their lands and, with no tribal input, choose a reservation. After drawing up a written contract, they called tribes together to feast and listen to whites extol its benefits, including promises of schools and farm equipment. Kluger points out that the Indians were illiterate, did not understand contracts and had no concept of land ownership. Despite their unease, most—according to white observers—signed. One leader, Leschi (1808–1858), protested and organized resistance during the 1855-6 Puget Sound War but was defeated, captured and, despite appeals from some whites, hung (though obviously useless to him, Leschi was exonerated in 2004). Forced onto tiny reservations, the tribes sunk into poverty, and their number dwindled. By the end of the 20th century, most whites agreed that they had treated the tribes badly, and legalization of Indian casinos has stimulated some prosperity for the survivors. Kluger does not conceal his indignation, painting a portrait of the whites as greedy, materialistic and racist, with a few ineffectual exceptions. The tribes are portrayed as modest hunter-gatherers, devoutly in tune with nature.

An accurate narrative, but the lack of nuance makes for a painful account that will keep readers gnashing their teeth throughout.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307388964
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,391,549
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Kluger is the author of Ashes to Ashes: America’s Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris, which won the Pulitzer Prize. His Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality and The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune both were finalists for the National Book Award. He is the author or coauthor of eight novels as well. He lives in Northern California.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Sheds light on an old injustice

    I saw a review of the book in The Seattle Times, and the book did not disappoint. In an even tone, without any inflammatory language, the author managed to capture the pervasive racism, self-righteousness, and greed that led people to justify persecution and expulsion of the Nisqually tribe. I don't know much about the early history of the Washington State, but did not come away with a good impression of its first governor, Isaac Stevens who seems to have twisted the judicial system to get his personal vengeance against Leschi. It was heartbreaking to read about the sufferings of the tribe who almost faced extinction, and I was happy to see their getting a well-deserved second chance in recent years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2012

    In this case, Bitter = Sweet

    Great to see a dynamic writer take on the complex issues surrounding the Medicine Creek Treaty, which set the pattern for all other treaties in Washington Territory. Well-sourced, and balanced research, although Kluger does not mince words when it comes to Isaac Stevens.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)