Richard W. Etulain, author of Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West
"In this provocative history Heather Cox Richardson traces the close linkages among late-nineteenth century politics, the West, and the horrendous Wounded Knee incident of 1890-91. No previous study has uncovered the full political account the author provides in this thorough, convincing volume."
Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, and author of The Contested Plains and The Last Indian War
"In Wounded Knee, Heather Cox Richardson continues her path breaking work in bringing the American West into its rightful place in the remaking of the nation during and after the Civil War. Here she portrays one of the most infamous events of its time as a consequence of politics, both in its seediest maneuverings and its more ennobling impulses. The story is tragic, the scholarship exhilarating, and the book is a must read for anyone drawn to this troubling and fascinating time."
William Deverell, Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
"Beyond grace and intelligence, what makes this book so important is that it demonstrates how one of the most tragic moments in all of American history is best understood not only as a spasm of genocidal violence but as something emerging from the everyday processes of politics and culture in the late nineteenth century. It is precisely that mixture of the banal and the horrific that makes this book compelling, significant, and deeply troubling."
"[Richardson argues] that the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890) was the inevitable end result of Reconstruction politics, which featured bitter partisanship and a media establishment run amok…. [A] well-crafted study of the Reconstruction era."
Gannett News Service
"In Wounded Knee, Richardson examined heretofore mostly overlooked papers of President Benjamin Harrison and other recently discovered documents to conclude that Washington politics and other factors led to the blood at Wounded Knee."
"The latest scholarly analysis of the causes leading to this tragic event takes a unique tack…. [A] meticulously documented account."
Walter A. McDougall, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Pulitzer Prize winner for The Heavens and the Earth, and author of Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War
"This poignant, professional history appears almost thirty years after Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, but could not be more timely as Americans face anew the human cost of their polarized politics, media spin, greed, hustling, pretense, and inept paternalism toward subject peoples. Richardson's research reveals that even an Indian massacre is far more than a simple matter of racism."
Leonard L. Richards, author of The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War
"With a mastery that brings even her bit players to life, Heather Cox Richardson has given us a fresh and vivid account of the greed, partisan politics, prejudice, and butchery that led to the massacre at Wounded Knee. The result is a superb book, history at its very best."
Ari Kelman, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and author of A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans
"Heather Cox Richardson explodes the myth that the tragedy at Wounded Knee was simply an unfortunate accident or an outgrowth of cross-cultural misunderstandings on the frontier. Instead, she proves that the massacre emerged out of misguided federal Indian policies and, above all else, partisan politics. The story is chilling. You'll want to put it down, but because it's so well told here, you won't be able to."
Eric Rauchway, Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and author of Blessed Among Nations and Murdering McKinley
"A gifted historian with a talent for narrative, Heather Cox Richardson uses her skills here to show that the killings at Wounded Knee might have happened at the edge of America, but they happened because of conflicts at the center of the nation's capital and the heart of the political struggles of the nineteenth century. A terrific book."
Historian Richardson (West from Appomattox) brings a fresh perspective to the massacre at Wounded Knee in her engaging study. The U.S. Army slaughter of nearly 300 surrendering Sioux men and women was not just an appalling act of racist brutality, argues the author, it was the outcome of roiling partisan politics. Desperate to maintain their political majority as well as business-friendly tariffs, Republican lawmakers swept into the West, gaining new congressional seats and distributing patronage jobs to supporters, including posts on the newly formed Sioux reservations. Stripped of land, livelihood, and dignity, many Sioux turned to a religious movement called the Ghost Dance—misinterpreted by Republican appointees as a sign of impending insurgency. Their panic was fanned by a feckless media and the Republican political machine hungry to see its vision—a West transformed into thriving farms humming with commerce—fulfilled. Richardson describes the collision of incompetence, political posturing, and military might with elegant prose and the right blend of outrage and humanity, subtly highlighting the parallels between the disastrous partisanship of the late 19th century and the politics of today. (June)
In her previous book, West from Appomattox: the Reconstruction of America after the Civil War, Richardson (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) argued against the view that Reconstruction ended in 1877, positing instead that it continued through the 19th-century conquest of the West. Now she builds upon that thesis by arguing that the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890) was the inevitable end result of Reconstruction politics, which featured bitter partisanship and a media establishment run amok. Despite the author's well-crafted study of the Reconstruction era, the connection to the Wounded Knee Massacre is tenuous at best. In trying to prove her Reconstruction thesis, the author apparently turned a blind eye to the fact that Europeans and their descendants had been indiscriminately massacring Native American populations for centuries. VERDICT Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee remains the best book on the massacre. For other examples of heinous violence against Native Americans, readers should consider Alfred Cave's The Pequot War and Kevin Kenny's Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn's Holy Experiment.—John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib, KY