Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy

Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy

by Kent Nerburn
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Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy by Kent Nerburn

Hidden in the shadow cast by the great western expeditions of Lewis and Clark lies another journey every bit as poignant, every bit as dramatic, and every bit as essential to an understanding of who we are as a nation — the 1,800-mile journey made by Chief Joseph and eight hundred Nez Perce men, women, and children from their homelands in what is now eastern Oregon through the most difficult, mountainous country in western America to the high, wintry plains of Montana. There, only forty miles from the Canadian border and freedom, Chief Joseph, convinced that the wounded and elders could go no farther, walked across the snowy battlefield, handed his rifle to the U.S. military commander who had been pursuing them, and spoke his now-famous words, "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

The story has been told many times, but never before in its entirety or with such narrative richness. Drawing on four years of research, interviews, and 20,000 miles of travel, Nerburn takes us beyond the surrender to the captives' unlikely welcome in Bismarck, North Dakota, their tragic eight-year exile in Indian Territory, and their ultimate return to the Northwest. Nerburn reveals the true, complex character of Joseph, showing how the man was transformed into a myth by a public hungry for an image of the noble Indian and how Joseph exploited the myth in order to achieve his single goal of returning his people to their homeland.

Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce is far more than the story of a man and a people. It is a grand saga of a pivotal time in our nation's history. Its pages are alive with the presence of Lewis and Clark, General William Tecumseh Sherman, General George Armstrong Custer, and Sitting Bull. Its events brush against the California Gold Rush, the Civil War, the great western pioneer migration, and the building of the telegraph and the transcontinental railroad. Once you have read this groundbreaking work, you will never look at Chief Joseph, the American Indian, or our nation's westward journey in the same way again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061136085
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 153,894
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kent Nerburn has been widely praised as one of the few writers who can respectfully bridge the gap between native and nonnative cultures. His book Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder won the 1995 Minnesota Book Award.

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Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Accurate and heartfelt research is obvious in Kent Nerburn¿s depiction of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce¿s lengthy and tragic journey attempting to return to their homeland. Artfully merged with the facts is an essence of a Native American voice that cultivates a realism making this book an excellent read that touches the heart and shames those whose history participated in the horrific attempt to annihilate a human race, one which we come to know and respect through Nerburn¿s writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Draws you in and won't let you go GREAT BOOK
Spad More than 1 year ago
This is a historical narrative from the Native American perspective and it clearly sets forth the serious mistakes our government made, not only with Chief Joseph's motivations, but, by analogy, with the motivations, feelings and desires of all Native Americans. A very insightful approach to a historical event that should make us less than proud of our government's actions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not the "white-man's" view of Chief Joseph but told from the Native American perception. Well written and riveting story. I highly recommend this book for a more rounded view of this historical figure put in the geographical context so often ignored.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book. I would recommend it to anyone with an interesting this subject.
FalconerGrove More than 1 year ago
An excellent, riveting account of Joseph and the Nez Perce. As a nature lover, an Indian lover and a Christian I really appreciate Nerburn's approach. I feel he captured the heart of the struggle and not just the facts.
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fissherman More than 1 year ago
A very great book to read.If you want to get an insight into the way the Indians where treated ,this book you should read.
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Thanks!
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Horribble worst book ever written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smiles. Yay!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She walks in and immediatly runs to bramblebreath. "Heyy can you hear me?" She gently shakes her.