Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

by Hampton Sides
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Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides

In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of "Manifest Destiny," this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness. In Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides gives us a magnificent history of the American conquest of the West. At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316027458
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 02/01/2007
Pages: 500
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.45(h) x 1.65(d)

About the Author

A native of Memphis, Hampton Sides is editor-atlarge for Outside magazine and the author of the international best-seller, Ghost Soldiers (Doubleday), which was the basis for the 2005 Miramax film, The Great Raid. Ghost Soldiers won the 2002 PEN USA award for non-fiction and the 2002 Discover Award from Barnes & Noble, and his magazine work has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. Hampton is also the author of Americana (Anchor) and Stomping Grounds (William Morrow). A graduate of Yale with a B.A. in history, he lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons.

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Blood and Thunder 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a history lover but I could not put this book down! Hampton Sides is so thorough in organizing all the insighful facts of this story yet keeps it so very human and interesting. It would floor me over and over again leaving me reading passages of it out loud to my family. I had thought of Kit Carson as a sort of made-up cowboy figure. His story, and those that surrounded him, needs and deserves this masterful retelling. It left me thankful for my own life yet in awe of the wildness and hardship that much of the United States was formed within. Sides does a great job of giving equal time and admiration for both the Indians and the early settlers. I love how messy and complicated it all is. A must read!
Strongmedicine More than 1 year ago
Kit Carson seemed to be everyplace. Everytime there was a desparate situation, Kit Carson showed up just in the nick of time and did an extraordinary deed to save the day. And the charming part of the story is that Kit Carson himself thought he was just "doing his job". Great insight into the Indian tribes, the Mexican history of New Mexico. The amazing story is Carson riding a mule from California to Washington to deliver documents to the President and then riding back.... three times!! A heroic story told very well.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Hampton Sides is the rare writer who writes both literature and history in the same book. He is also balanced, fair, and sympathetic to both his Indian and white subjects. it would be easy to condemn kit Carson, General Carleton, or many of the others involved in the Navajo debacle but Sides refrains. He resists the temptation to place 21st century values on 19th century frontiersmen and native Americans. I found myself comparing Blood and Thunder to Son of the Morning Star, another western classic. Even though it sometimes tries to cover too much ground, any serious reader of history will be rewarded by a trip through its pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reads like a good novel. It is well researched and documented. The author is intellegent: I thoroughly enjoyed his vocabulary and command of the English language. His view was well-balanced glorifying neither the white settlers, the hispanic settlers, nor the natives. Excellent. I will seek more books by Hampton Sides.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kit Carson: a dedicated soldier and man who loved the Native American way of life. He was at the forefront of much that changed the American West. This book gives a great history of the man and the orders he carried out but I would have liked to read more about his personal life. A great beginning to learning more about Kit Carson. Now I want to read more about the other side of the story: especially from the perspective of the Navaho and Manuelito. I think it's terrible what our ancestors did to the Native Americans but exciting history to read about nonetheless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be well written and an easy read. It contains a vast amount of information on the so-called taming of the Southwest. Any student of American western history will enjoy the book. However, as a bio of Kit Carson, I found the treatise lacking. The first part of the book contains less information on Carson and more on the travels of Fremont, more history involving Kearny and more insight into the Navajo headman Narbona. Carson seems but a minor actor on the big stage. And then he disappears altogether. For about 50 pages (starting on page 246), you can only find one mention of Carson and that in passing. Later in the book, during the battle for Fort Craig, the details of the actions on both sides are well documented. Yet Carson is treated in an anecdotally and chronologically poor way. While the author leads us into the battle near Fort Craig, which took place in 1862, we are presented with two stories of Carson in Albuquerque years earlier, another about an 1853 trip to California, an oral history dictated in 1856, another 1853 story, and finally information on Carson’s activities in the 1850s before we can get back to the battle in 1862. The last part of the book does contain much more information on Carson and the campaign against the Navajos. But if you are interested in the Carson story, start reading on page 411, or better, try another book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hampton Sides's Blood and Thunder is the most comprehensive and balanced account of Native America (particularly Navajo) - U.S. Army interaction that I know of. I reread it and give it as gifts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great way to get a lot of historical information in an entertaining way.
Jawjam More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended by several of the Doctors that I work with and their wives. Also several couples at church recommended it. My Husband is reading it 1st as he received it for Christmas from me and I will read it next. He is enjoying all the history of the area we live in that is in the book. It is amazing how far these people traveled in an age when travel was not simple. Great History novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't realize this was 553 pages. It's mind boggling all the action seen in Kit Carson's life and the travels he made throught Indian country in those hostile times. It truly depicts the personalities, the arrogance and downright stupidity of some of the army brass attempting to administer conquered territory. They are much better at fighting than monitoring and overseeing conquered people, be they Mexicans or American Indians. I highly recommend this book as historical information to all of you.
DavidS-Albuquerque More than 1 year ago
Hampton Sides goes out of his way to praise Thomas Dunlay in his acknowledgements as well he should. The book is almost a twin of Dunlay's "Kit Carson and the Indians", published by the University of Nebaraska Press in 2000. Page after page and source after source apes Dunlay's work. In fact, Sides' last page in his book is almost the same as Dunlay's (sans Chapter on Conclusion) and it seems to me that he may have even got the title of his book from reading Chapter 1, page 13 of Dunlay's book. There is no new information presented here save for a few hearsay details given by Navajo informants. I was very disappointed to have wasted my reading time on something that I already read back in 2000.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wonderwomanLC More than 1 year ago
Outstanding piece of historical work. Sides has entered the company of Ambrose and McCollough.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspect and Blades den.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great not just because of the amazing story of Kit Carson but also on westward expansion. A must read for any history buff.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written, and if you like stories about the opening of the West, this is you're kind of book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
freej2k More than 1 year ago
Mr. Sides gives a lot of detail about the westward expansion of the U.S. This book goes beyond facts and figures. He gives a lot of details about the people involved and the possible thoughts that drove them to make their (sometimes fatal) decisions. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative, very engaging and a very entertaining and easy read.
Mosso More than 1 year ago
Hampton Sides can really tell a story that keeps you reading. Lots of action and drama. Kit Carson was a remarkable person!