The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Oatman massacre is among the most famous and dramatic captivity stories in the history of the Southwest. In this riveting account, Brian McGinty explores the background, development, and aftermath of the tragedy.

Roys Oatman, a dissident Mormon, led his family of nine and a few other families from their homes in Illinois on a journey west, believing a prophecy that they would find the fertile “Land of Bashan” at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers. On February 18,...

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The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival

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Overview

The Oatman massacre is among the most famous and dramatic captivity stories in the history of the Southwest. In this riveting account, Brian McGinty explores the background, development, and aftermath of the tragedy.

Roys Oatman, a dissident Mormon, led his family of nine and a few other families from their homes in Illinois on a journey west, believing a prophecy that they would find the fertile “Land of Bashan” at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers. On February 18, 1851, a band of southwestern Indians attacked the family on a cliff overlooking the Gila River in present-day Arizona. All but three members of the family were killed. The attackers took thirteen-year-old Olive and eight-year-old Mary Ann captive and left their wounded fourteen-year-old brother Lorenzo for dead.

Although Mary Ann did not survive, Olive lived to be rescued and reunited with her brother at Fort Yuma.

On Olive’s return to white society in 1857, Royal B. Stratton published a book that sensationalized the story, and Olive herself went on lecture tours, telling of her experiences and thrilling audiences with her Mohave chin tattoos.

Ridding the legendary tale of its anti-Indian bias and questioning the historic notion that the Oatmans’ attackers were Apaches, McGinty explores the extent to which Mary Ann and Olive may have adapted to life among the Mohaves and charts Olive’s eight years of touring and talking about her ordeal.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
The subtitle explains this book. Olive Oatman was a 13-year-old girl in a family of dissident Mormons seeking a new utopia when on February 18th, 1851, her family was attacked by a band of Native Americans in what is now southwestern Arizona. Her parents and four brothers and sisters were killed. A 14-year-old brother was left for dead, but survived. She and her eight-year-old sister were captured by Native Americans (whose tribe has not been determined). Later she was sold to a group of Mohaves with whom she lived for five years before being rescued by Americans based in Yuma. A somewhat errant minister wrote a book with her cooperation and Olive became famous enough to earn her living for many years by promoting the book and giving lectures on her captivity. The many questions and legends that have grown up around the Oatman massacre are carefully examined by McGinty, who has obviously done painstaking research on the incident itself, on Olive's captivity, and on her life in the spotlight once she was rescued. The text is smoothly written and most approachable. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 258p. illus. notes. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Patricia Moore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806183152
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 12/3/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 268,604
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Brian McGinty is an attorney and historian who specializes in American history, wine, and law. He is the author of nine books, including Strong Wine: The Life and Legend of Agoston Haraszthy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 11, 2012

    A must read!

    This should be required reading in High Schools - definetly real American history, and very interesting - never boring.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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