Reviews for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee : An Indian History of the American West

Booklist Reviews 2009 November #2
It is a hard fact that history creates winners and losers. Brown's landmark work, first published in 1970, movingly illustrated that truism as he narrates the destruction of the cultures of various Native American groups in the trans-Mississippi west between 1860-90. Brown, who was a librarian at the University of Illinois for decades, was determined to balance the books by writing an account of the winning of the West from a Native American perspective. This latest edition, embellished by more than 300 illustrations and several interesting essays, has both the weaknesses and strengths of the original work. Critics, with some justification, have noted Brown's glossing over the unsavory aspects of some Native American groups, including their idealization of warfare. In his efforts to portray Native Americans as victims, his constant emphasis on American rapaciousness and duplicity is over the top. Still, Brown's essential message retains its power and conveys eloquently the tragedy of a people displaced and humiliated by the advance of an expanding aggressive civilization that they could neither cope with nor comprehend. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.