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Journalist VanDevelder lucidly examines the broad historic, cultural, and legal context and legacy of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 between the U.S. government and Plains Indian nations. This book is a direct outgrowth of-and best as a companion book to-the author's Pulitzer Prize-nominated Coyote Warrior, which dealt with the construction of the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River homelands of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations in North Dakota, the dam's impact upon these Indian peoples being the starting and ending points of this new work as well. In contrast to Stan Hoig's White Man's Paper Trail: Grand Councils and Treaty Making on the Central Plains, which offers a strong Texas and Southern Plains perspective of the Fort Laramie treaties, VanDevelder maintains a Northern Plains touchstone. He primarily recounts Manifest Destiny as the national policy that produced the American empire at the expense of Indian nations and explicates it through the persons of Presidents Washington and Jackson and, of most distinct interest, mountain man Thomas Fitzpatrick, as well as tribal leader Martin Cross. Recommended for informed readers.
—Nathan E. Bender