The Lance and the Shield

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"His narrative is griping....Mr. Utley transforms Sitting Bull, the abstract, romanticized icon and symbol, into a flesh-and-blood person with a down-to-earth story....THE LANCE AND THE SHIELD clears the screen of the exaggerations and fantasies long directed at the name of Sitting Bull."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Reviled by the United States government as a troublemaker and a coward, revered by his people as a great warrior chief, Sitting Bull has long been one of the most...
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Overview

"His narrative is griping....Mr. Utley transforms Sitting Bull, the abstract, romanticized icon and symbol, into a flesh-and-blood person with a down-to-earth story....THE LANCE AND THE SHIELD clears the screen of the exaggerations and fantasies long directed at the name of Sitting Bull."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Reviled by the United States government as a troublemaker and a coward, revered by his people as a great warrior chief, Sitting Bull has long been one of the most fascinating and misunderstood figures in American history. Now, distinguished historian Robert M. Utley has forged a compelling new portrait of Sitting Bull, viewing the man from the Lakota perspective for the very first time to render the most unbiased and historically accurate biography of Sitting Buil to date.
WINNER OF THE SPUR AWARD FOR BEST WESTERN NONFICTION
HISTORICAL BOOK OF 1993
A MAIN SELECTIN OF THE HISTORY BOOK CLUB
A FEATURED ALTERNATE SELECTION OF THE QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK
CLUB

Reviled by the U.S. government, revered by the Lakota Sioux, Sitting Bull has long been one of the most fascinating and misunderstood figures in American history. Utley's groundbreaking biography shows this complex character from both the white man's and the Lakota's perspective for the first time. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To most white Americans of the mid-19th century, Sitting Bull embodied the hostile native. To the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux, he was a patriot and a respected political, military and spiritual leader. Utley ( Cavalier in Buckskin ), a former chief historian of the National Park Service, presents a definitive biography of this legendary warrior. Born in 1831 on the great Plains, son of a chief, Sitting Bull was a seasoned warrior by the age of 15; at 26, he was tribal war chief. As the conflicts with the U.S. Army began in the 1850s, Sitting Bull represented the spirit of resistance among his people. Utley follows the increasing hostilities of succeeding years and gives a vivid account of the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. Three years after fleeing to Canada, Sitting Bull returned to the U.S. and reservation life. In 1890, he was shot by Indian police sent to arrest him before his intended departure for a sundance at another reservation. Utley believes that the arrest was unjustified, but that the shooting, which led to the Battle of Wounded Knee a few months later, was not premeditated. Photos. History Book club main selection; BOMC and QPB selections. (June)
Library Journal
Utley ( Billy the Kid , Univ. of Nebraska Pr., 1989; Cavalier in Buckskin , Univ. of Oklahoma Pr., 1988, among others) turns his attention to one of the best-known Native American leaders. Utley draws extensively from the papers of Stanley Vestal, who wrote what most consider to be the standard biography, Sitting Bull, Champion of the Sioux (Univ. of Oklahoma Pr., 1989). Unlike Vestal's work, or Alexander B. Adams's popular Sitting Bull: An Epic of the Plains (1973. o.p.), Utley is grounded in the historical method, placing Sitting Bull in the context of his time and culture. Sitting Bull emerges as a complex leader who defeated Custer during what could be termed the ``lance'' portion of his life but was killed by his own people while defending them against white encroachment--as a ``shield.'' This book is expected to become the standard account on Sitting Bull for both the scholar and the armchair student of the American West. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/93.-- Daniel Liestman, Seattle Pacific Univ. Lib.
Booknews
A new biography of the Lakota Sioux chief, drawing on original notes made in the 1920s and 1930s by Stanley Vestal, who transmuted them into an essentially literary accomplishment, Sitting Bull: Chief of the Sioux. Utley corrects misconceptions and enhances understanding by looking closely at the Hunkpapa world and at the details of the chief's life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Enormous, groundbreaking biography of the great Lakota Sioux war chief (c. 1831-90). To date, the standard biography of Sitting Bull has been Stanley Vestal's Sitting Bull, Chief of the Sioux, written decades ago and more a triumph of literature than of history. Now, utilizing Vestal's original notes (collected in the 1920's and 30's and featuring interviews with many warriors who knew Sitting Bull intimately), as well as his own extensive research, Utley (Billy the Kid, 1989, etc.) has forged a new portrait of the Sioux warrior that places him squarely within his social and historical context. Whether Utley succeeds in his ambition of writing from both white and Native American perspectives is arguable—can anyone merge the two?—but he details with exquisite care and objectivity the life of the Lakota in the post-Civil War era, along with the intentions and actions of the Federal government. Into this powder-keg situation was born Sitting Bull, who soon demonstrated the revered Lakota male traits of bravery, humility, wisdom, and generosity. Utley, benefiting greatly from massive recent scholarship, traces Sitting Bull's rise as a war chief and as a wichasha wakan (holy man) with greater sensitivity to Native American ways than did previous biographers. In doing so, he puts the lie to earlier portraits of Sitting Bull as a cowardly "pretender to high rank," revealing him as the supreme Sioux chief, a man "distant and aloof from all whites," obsessed with his people's freedom, perhaps too stubborn but unquestionably a "towering figure." Even the years of defeat—including a stint with Buffalo Bill's circus—shine with dignity, and Utley shows that Sitting Bull'sdeath—which the author, going against popular belief, argues was not an assassination but an accident—marked a tragic loss for all Americans, white or Native American. The new standard against which all future lives of Sitting Bull will be measured. (Thirty-two b&w photographs, three maps) (History Book Club Main Selection)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345389381
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st Ballantine books ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 413
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Prologue 1
1 Youth 3
2 Warrior 14
3 Wichasha Wakan 26
4 Wasichus 38
5 Long Knives 51
6 Lance 65
7 Head Chief 76
8 Shield 90
9 Wasichus on Elk River 106
10 War 122
11 Soldiers Upside Down 131
12 Long Hair 145
13 Bear Coat 165
14 Winter of Despair 174
15 Long Lance 183
16 Pte 199
17 Fort Buford 211
18 Jean Louis 225
19 Prisoner of War 234
20 Standing Rock 248
21 The World Beyond 260
22 Land 268
23 Messiah 281
24 Death 291
Epilogue 308
Acknowledgments 315
Sources 317
Notes 333
Index 399
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2000

    Compelling!

    Robert Utley gives us a truly personal look at the great Sitting Bull. The author provides us, through extensive research, an insight into Sitting Bull seldom mentioned - that of a man who simply wanted to keep his land, live in peace with the white man and take care of his people. Mr. Utley explains the many traditions of the Native Americans and their reverence for the elderly and their devotion to family. Many misconceptions are put to rest and a realization emerges of just how unjust the white man was to the original owners of this continent we call North America.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2000

    Intimate insight into Sitting Bull, the man.

    Most history books relating to Native Americans seem to be written from a white man's perspective which often times leaves the reader wanting more in depth and intimate views regarding the subject. Mr. Utley delivers a book on Sitting Bull that gives you that satisfied feeling. You will come away with a very close and personal understanding of Sitting Bull - who he was, what he was about and his thinking of the time regarding the encroachment of the white man on his nation. You will also come away with a greater understanding of Lakota rituals and their meaning and purpose. Myths are dispelled and facts reign supreme.

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