Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879

Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879

by Thomas Goodrich
     
 
Some of the most savage war in world history was waged on the American Plains from 1865 to 1879. As settlers moved west following the Civil War, they found powerful Indian tribes barring the way. When the U.S. Army intervened, a bloody and prolonged conflict ensued.Drawing heavily from diaries, letters, and memoirs from American Plains settlers, historian Thomas

Overview

Some of the most savage war in world history was waged on the American Plains from 1865 to 1879. As settlers moved west following the Civil War, they found powerful Indian tribes barring the way. When the U.S. Army intervened, a bloody and prolonged conflict ensued.Drawing heavily from diaries, letters, and memoirs from American Plains settlers, historian Thomas Goodrich weaves a spellbinding tale of life and death on the prairie, told in the timeless words of the participants themselves. Scalp Dance is a powerful, unforgettable epic that shatters modern myths. Within its pages, the reader will find a truthful account of Indian warfare as it occurred.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beginning with the Sand Creek massacre in late 1864 and extending through the defeat of the Sioux and Cheyenne following their spectacular upset of Custer and his 7th Cavalry, Goodrich (Black Flag, 1995) takes the reader on a lurid journey through massacres, skirmishes, raids, pitched battles and the changeable weather of the Great Plains. Rather than emphasizing new facts or interpretations, Goodrich relies on the words of witnesses and survivors among the settlers to depict the atrocities committed by both Indians and whites alike. Along the way, the reader encounters the famous leaders of both sidesCuster, George Crook, Nelson A. Miles, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Red Cloudas well as a host of lesser-known and largely forgotten subordinates. Wives who went west willingly, such as Libby Custer and Alice Baldwin, plus others who were less happy with their migration, speak their pieces. When Goodrich does intervene, he can't be accused of being politically correct (e.g., he writes of the "many wild and semi-civilized Indian scouts" who were hired by the Army). An added bonus are the reports of visitors to Indian camps during peaceful interludes, which give a fascinating glimpse into cross-cultural contact. Readers who don't mind graphic accounts of mutilation, rape, torture and pillage will relish Goodrich's you-are-there approach to a bloody period in American history. Illustrations; maps. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Goodrich, whose previous books, Black Flag (LJ 2/15/95) and Bloody Dawn (LJ 1/1/91), told of Civil War-era Kansas, weaves various firsthand narratives into this account focusing on two episodes of warfare against the Indians: campaigns in Kansas during 1867-68, and the Sioux War of 1876-77. Fully a third of the book is concerned with Custer's campaigns in Kansas and Montana. Goodrich has produced a smooth, flowing story, but the viewpoint is that of the settler and soldier on the frontier. The voice of the Indian explaining why he went to war is not heard. Serious collections on the West will already have the original works from which this book is drawn. Others may wish to consider this for purchase.Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811729079
Publisher:
Stackpole Books
Publication date:
07/28/2002
Pages:
340
Sales rank:
424,916
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Goodrich is a professional writer whose focus is the American West. He is a native Kansan and lives near Topeka.

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