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Voices of the American West, Volume 2: The Settler and Soldier Interviews of Eli S. Ricker, 1903-1919
     

Voices of the American West, Volume 2: The Settler and Soldier Interviews of Eli S. Ricker, 1903-1919

by Eli S. Ricker
 

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In this second volume of interviews conducted by Nebraska judge Eli S. Ricker, he focuses on white eyewitnesses and participants in the occupying and settling of the American West in the nineteenth century.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, as the Old West became increasingly distant and romanticized in popular consciousness, Eli S. Ricker

Overview


In this second volume of interviews conducted by Nebraska judge Eli S. Ricker, he focuses on white eyewitnesses and participants in the occupying and settling of the American West in the nineteenth century.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, as the Old West became increasingly distant and romanticized in popular consciousness, Eli S. Ricker (1842–1926) began interviewing those who had experienced it firsthand, hoping to write a multivolume series about its last days, centering on the conflicts between Natives and outsiders. For years Ricker traveled across the northern Plains, gathering information on and off reservations, in winter and in summer. Judge Ricker never wrote his book, but his interviews are priceless sources of information about that time and place, and they offer more balanced perspectives on events than were accepted at the time.

Richard E. Jensen brings together all of Ricker’s interviews with those men and women who came to the American West from elsewhere—settlers, homesteaders, and veterans. These interviews shed light on such key events as the massacre at Wounded Knee, the Little Bighorn battle, Beecher Island, Lightning Creek, the Mormon cow incident, and the Washita massacre. Also of interest are glimpses of everyday life at different agencies, including Pine Ridge, Yellow Medicine, and Fort Sill School; brief though revealing memoirs; and snapshots of cattle drives, conflicts with Natives, and the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Editorial Reviews

Bloomsbury Review

“Amazing personal accounts [are] in these volumes, which present for the first time the extensive turn-of-the-century interviews of Eli S. Ricker, a pioneering Nebraska judge and newspaperman who traveled across the Dakotas a hundred years ago, interviewing the last of the old-timers on the northern prairie. . . . Here are the authentic voices of the real people who were actually there at Beecher’s Island, Little Bighorn, and Wounded Knee. Here is western history at its finest--vivid oral narratives that very well may become the stuff of prize-winning stories, novels, and films.”—Bloomsbury Review
Lincoln Journal Star

“Priceless sources of information that offer more balanced perspectives on events than were accepted at the time. . . . There is no doubt that the voices and stories captured here in both books will be of significant value.”—Lincoln Journal Star
American Studies

“A magnificent achievement to the oral-history sources available on the American West. This collection of Ricker’s interviews provides a rich resource on the Old West for the scholar and those interested in an accurate analysis of the lives of Indians, soldiers and settlers. . . . The strength of the volumes is in the stories told by the interviewees, with their perspectives on key historical events from the Old West, which is equally suited to the student and the academic scholar.”—American Studies
Great Plains Quarterly

“The interviews are a gold mine of information, and researchers will be rewarded for digging through them. Jensen has helped a great deal by organizing the book into three main chapters subdivided by respondent and topic. . . . Ricker left Nebraska and the West an important source of information, and Jensen has made this more user-friendly by his organization and commentary.”—Great Plains Quarterly
Kansas History

“Ricker proved himself a patient and meticulous oral interviewer, giving voice to people mostly ignored by historians of his day. His subjects document the Ghost Dance as a genuine religious movement, not as a ‘craze’ as described in white accounts. . . . Editor Richard Jensen provides a true service, for having translated Ricker’s arcane handwritten notes into readable form and for his endnotes filled with biographical information.”—James N. Leiker, Kansas History

North Dakota History - Rick Ewig

"Anyone wishing to know more about Wounded Knee, the Little Bighorn, the history of the western frontier in general, and many other topics will certainly want to refer to Jensen's work."—Rick Ewig, North Dakota History
Kansas History - James N. Leiker

“Ricker proved himself a patient and meticulous oral interviewer, giving voice to people mostly ignored by historians of his day. His subjects document the Ghost Dance as a genuine religious movement, not as a ‘craze’ as described in white accounts. . . . Editor Richard Jensen provides a true service, for having translated Ricker’s arcane handwritten notes into readable form and for his endnotes filled with biographical information.”—James N. Leiker, Kansas History
of Battlefields and Bibliophiles - David Woodbury

"Another brilliant offering."—David Woodbury, of Battlefields and Bibliophiles
Westerners Bookshelf - Alan Culpin

"This is an important collection, well edited, and a must for anyone wanting to get an insider's view of life east of the Rockies between the 1840s and 1900."—Alan Culpin, Westerners Bookshelf
North Dakota History

"Anyone wishing to know more about Wounded Knee, the Little Bighorn, the history of the western frontier in general, and many other topics will certainly want to refer to Jensen's work."—Rick Ewig, North Dakota History

— Rick Ewig

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803239975
Publisher:
UNP - Bison Books
Publication date:
06/01/2012
Pages:
498
Sales rank:
1,289,187
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author


Richard E. Jensen is retired from the Nebraska State Historical Society, where he was senior research anthropologist. His most recent books are The Pawnee Mission Letters, 1834–1851 and Eyewitness at Wounded Knee, both available from the University of Nebraska Press.

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