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An "indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent (Los Angeles Times Book Review) chronicle of a fatal gun-battle between FBI agents and American Indian Movement activists by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the novel In Paradise On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FB An "indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent (Los Angeles Times Book Review) chronicle of a fatal gun-battle between FBI agents and American Indian Movement activists by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the novel In Paradise On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FBI agents and Native Americans near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, left an Indian and two federal agents dead. Four members of the American Indian Movement were indicted on murder charges, and one, Leonard Peltier, was convicted and is now serving consecutive life sentences in a federal penitentiary. Behind this violent chain of events lie issues of great complexity and profound historical resonance, brilliantly explicated by Peter Matthiessen in this controversial book. Kept off the shelves for eight years because of one of the most protracted and bitterly fought legal cases in publishing history, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse reveals the Lakota tribe's long struggle with the U.S. government, and makes clear why the traditional Indian concept of the earth is so important at a time when increasing populations are destroying the precious resources of our world.


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An "indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent (Los Angeles Times Book Review) chronicle of a fatal gun-battle between FBI agents and American Indian Movement activists by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the novel In Paradise On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FB An "indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent (Los Angeles Times Book Review) chronicle of a fatal gun-battle between FBI agents and American Indian Movement activists by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the novel In Paradise On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FBI agents and Native Americans near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, left an Indian and two federal agents dead. Four members of the American Indian Movement were indicted on murder charges, and one, Leonard Peltier, was convicted and is now serving consecutive life sentences in a federal penitentiary. Behind this violent chain of events lie issues of great complexity and profound historical resonance, brilliantly explicated by Peter Matthiessen in this controversial book. Kept off the shelves for eight years because of one of the most protracted and bitterly fought legal cases in publishing history, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse reveals the Lakota tribe's long struggle with the U.S. government, and makes clear why the traditional Indian concept of the earth is so important at a time when increasing populations are destroying the precious resources of our world.

30 review for In the Spirit of Crazy Horse: The Story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI's War on the American Indian Movement

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz Muñoz

    This book really affected me. It made me angry at the injustice that happened to these people. Mattiessen really did his research for this book. It's a detailed account of the incident at Wounded Knee in the 70's, AIM (American Indian Movement) and the trials that followed thereafter. Thankfully, the FBI lost in it's attempt to prevent this book from being published. It's an important book and we have the right to learn about the attrocities committed against the Native Americans. I feel strongl This book really affected me. It made me angry at the injustice that happened to these people. Mattiessen really did his research for this book. It's a detailed account of the incident at Wounded Knee in the 70's, AIM (American Indian Movement) and the trials that followed thereafter. Thankfully, the FBI lost in it's attempt to prevent this book from being published. It's an important book and we have the right to learn about the attrocities committed against the Native Americans. I feel strongly that this should be required reading in high school. This is not an easy read, but will definitely keep you interested. I also recommend watching the documentary "Incident at Oglala: The Leonard Pelteir Story".

  2. 4 out of 5

    Socraticgadfly

    Free Leonard Peltier! Why? Well, you have to read this book, but here's a synopsis that nobody but the most diehard 1970s FBI defender can try to deny. Matthiessen documents years of FBI spying on the American Indian Movement, including "turning" insiders, coupled with intimidation tactics and more. Often the FBI in South Dakota was working, if not hand in hand, at least on parallel tracks in this thuggery with folks such as a corrupt Pine Ridge Indian Reservation leadership, then-Attorney General Free Leonard Peltier! Why? Well, you have to read this book, but here's a synopsis that nobody but the most diehard 1970s FBI defender can try to deny. Matthiessen documents years of FBI spying on the American Indian Movement, including "turning" insiders, coupled with intimidation tactics and more. Often the FBI in South Dakota was working, if not hand in hand, at least on parallel tracks in this thuggery with folks such as a corrupt Pine Ridge Indian Reservation leadership, then-Attorney General and now disgraced former Congressman Bill Janklow, BIA cops and more. While Matthiesen looks at bits and pieces of AIM's history elsewhere, he focuses on Pine Ridge and its Sioux, as this area, through things such as a temporary takeover of Mount Rushmore, was a center of AIM activity. In trials related to the events in and around Pine Ridge, FBI agents repeatedly intimidated witnesses into changing testimony, coached witnesses, sprung last-minute surprise witnesses at trials (which is against the law, if you didn't know), suborned perjury and otherwise made a mockery of justice. Things reached a climax June 26, 1975 when two FBI agents approached the Jumping Bull property on the Pine Ridge Reservation, ostensibly looking for Jimmy Eagle on a weapons charge. According to all Indian accounts, the two agents began opening fire on the property. Both were eventually shot in a return of fire. They were later killed at close range. After three other AIM leaders at the site were all acquitted of murder charges in the FBI agents' deaths, the FBI appeared determined to hang the case on Peltier by any legal or illegal means possible. Aided by a viciously biased judge giving one-sided bench rulings, the government did exactly that. Read how things reached this point, what AIM's grievances were, how the FBI infiltrated them, and more. But, above all, read the story of Leonard Peltier both before and after his conviction. Is Leonard Peltier a political prisoner? Read this book and decide for yourself.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Sioux at Standing Rock defending their land against big oil and their State minion armies, circa 2016. So you think shit has changed? Elegant, passionate investigative muckraking in the grand style: messy, gnarly, informative, memorable and anger-inducing. This is a sweeping, detailed novelistic tour de force that raises more questions than it answers and sometimes has you questioning the author's veracity while at the same time having you shaking your head in agreement over his findings and con Sioux at Standing Rock defending their land against big oil and their State minion armies, circa 2016. So you think shit has changed? Elegant, passionate investigative muckraking in the grand style: messy, gnarly, informative, memorable and anger-inducing. This is a sweeping, detailed novelistic tour de force that raises more questions than it answers and sometimes has you questioning the author's veracity while at the same time having you shaking your head in agreement over his findings and conclusions. In investigating the state's case against Leonard Peltier and his cohorts, Matthiessen presents a disgraceful historical litany of the underlying causes of American Indian anger. This book ends on an enigmatic and somewhat unsatisfactory note, but in getting there is a mind-massaging and unforgettable journey, and should be required reading for all Americans. ([email protected], read in 2008; reviewed retrospectively -- and regrettably without benefit of detail -- in 2016)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    In the Spirit of Crazy Horse is one of the best non-fiction books that I have read. The story is a volatile cocktail of violence, poverty, intimidation and historical oppression. And then when the FBI gets involved the problems only escalate from there. This book logs in at nearly 800 pages. The first 200 pages are slow going and quite unnecessary if you already have background on modern Sioux history and the American Indian Movement. The story really gains traction with the events in the summer In the Spirit of Crazy Horse is one of the best non-fiction books that I have read. The story is a volatile cocktail of violence, poverty, intimidation and historical oppression. And then when the FBI gets involved the problems only escalate from there. This book logs in at nearly 800 pages. The first 200 pages are slow going and quite unnecessary if you already have background on modern Sioux history and the American Indian Movement. The story really gains traction with the events in the summer of 1975 surrounding the tragic shooout between FBI agents and Leonard Peltier and his associates. These events on the Pine Ridge Reservation are the central focus of the remainder of the book continuing right through the epilogue and afterword. This book was quite controversial when it was released in 1983 and for many decades since. The author, Peter Matthiessen, was certainly sympathetic to the members of the American Indian Movement. He was even sued by the governor of South Dakota and FBI agents because of the unflattering light in which they were portrayed. All of the claims of libel against Matthiessen were eventually dismissed after years of litigation. Following the dismissal of the libel suits, books could be sold again and by the 1990's the book and events were covered in some depth by the major networks. Why is this book is so riveting? First off, Matthiessen is a phenomenal writer pure and simple. Secondly Matthiessen incorporates a large amount of first hand research and quotes. He interviewed everybody associated with the American Indian movement and those witnesses of the tragic events. Lastly Matthiessen lays a seemingly exhaustive set of facts out there for the reader to interpret. Ultimately Matthiessen states his belief in Leonard Peltier's innocence. Few people today contest whether the FBI fabricated evidence, but I don't share the same view that Peltier is innocent nor did I buy the concocted story of Mr. X. When the FBI accuses you of murder, it's best to not try and pin it on a Mr. X and refuse to provide his identity. The fundamental themes of this book center on oppression, dispossession and aggression. Regarding the latter there is an FBI agent, the one who later sues the author, who describes why law enforcement uses overwhelming force in dealing with these movements, even though this is almost certainly going to lead to violence. A force of 200 law enforcement vs. 30 suspects may seem overwhelming to a lay person but he says they want 1000 men because no FBI agent wants to die for just doing their job. So you see this life and death tug-of-war play out between law enforcement against an aggrieved people, some of whom have very checkered pasts. To a large degree that is what makes this book so riveting. It is about multiple miscarriages of justice. The situation evokes sympathy for FBI agents and their families in a no win situation and then their predictable reactions when there are no willing eyewitnesses who come forward regarding the executions. The story evokes sympathy for people who live on a reservation with murder rates far exceeding the worst American cities. The story evokes sympathy for the plight of Native Americans when the U.S. government does not live up to its treaties and commits the same sins of aggressions like those at Wounded Knee nearly a hundred years earlier. In summary, it's a thought provoking book by an author who is honest about where his sympathies lie.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kottke

    This saga of the conflict between the U.S. government and Native Americans picks up where Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee leaves off, and makes the critical point that as excellent as that earlier book is, contemporary readers might get a false sense of complacency from it, that we live in a more enlightened age and the struggles exist in the past. This book, which focuses mainly on the events surrounding the shootout on the Pine Ridge reservation in 1975 and the story of Leonard Peltier, serves a This saga of the conflict between the U.S. government and Native Americans picks up where Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee leaves off, and makes the critical point that as excellent as that earlier book is, contemporary readers might get a false sense of complacency from it, that we live in a more enlightened age and the struggles exist in the past. This book, which focuses mainly on the events surrounding the shootout on the Pine Ridge reservation in 1975 and the story of Leonard Peltier, serves as a strong corrective to that. Ironically, the current edition contributes to that impression by ending on a positive note. After 16 years in prison, Leonard Peltier's case received increased media attention, and the book ends with optimistic visions of a long struggle finally coming to an end. However, the book's coverage ends in 1991. Twenty years later, Leonard Peltier is still in prison, and his defense committee hasn't produced a fresh newsletter or blog post in over three years. The only thing new on their website is a ticker that updates every second to document his total time of imprisonment, 13040 as of today.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I'm not sure I can write a review of this, there are so many thoughts about it running though my head. I picked this up a few years ago at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian (you should go). Matthiessen book (opinionated but heavily noted) is dense and isn't the beautiful nature writing that makes up The Snow Leopard (read it), this a different type of book. Matthissen investigates the AIM (American Indian Movement) shooting of two FBI agents at Pine Ridge Reservation (which borders S I'm not sure I can write a review of this, there are so many thoughts about it running though my head. I picked this up a few years ago at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian (you should go). Matthiessen book (opinionated but heavily noted) is dense and isn't the beautiful nature writing that makes up The Snow Leopard (read it), this a different type of book. Matthissen investigates the AIM (American Indian Movement) shooting of two FBI agents at Pine Ridge Reservation (which borders Standing Rock). Matthiessen first details the treatment of Native Americans at the hands of the US government (including the breaking of treaties by the US government) before moving into the events of the shooting and the trials that follow. In many ways, too, it also gives one a new look at Standing Rock. If you are reading this or having read this, I highly suggest searching the names of the central players as information as come out since the publication of the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    J.

    I read this book in 1992 as part of a graduate American Indian Law seminar conducted at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) with Dr. Glenn Morris - the head of the Denver chapter of AIM as the instructor. It was one of more than several books used in the seminar but certainly for me one of the more memorable and influential. Also, the now infamous Dr. Ward Churchill was a guest instructor on several occasions. He never represented himself as a Tribal member and although the courts have quest I read this book in 1992 as part of a graduate American Indian Law seminar conducted at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) with Dr. Glenn Morris - the head of the Denver chapter of AIM as the instructor. It was one of more than several books used in the seminar but certainly for me one of the more memorable and influential. Also, the now infamous Dr. Ward Churchill was a guest instructor on several occasions. He never represented himself as a Tribal member and although the courts have questioned his ancestry and his scholarship, having been in the classroom with him I would not question his intellectual endowment. He struck this observer as a thoughtful and brilliant man however you might feel about his ideas. The book inspired me greatly and as a result I have had the good fortune to have worked with tribal governments since 1995 leading and conducting government-to-government consultations to the present day with hundreds of consultations completed. I've visited Pine Ridge, SD numerous times and all the other reservations in the book - which frankly has been a dream come true. I highly recommend the book and I believe whatever side of the argument you fall on you will find the book thoughtful and entertaining and perhaps even inspiring.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karis North

    Detailed almost to the point of excrutiating, but overall excellent recitation of the events leading up to the killing of 2 FBI agents in Oglala, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Matthiesen's research is painstaking, and once I realized how the book was organized it made sense and I could follow it (he hides his explanation in the notes for each section). The facts are incredibly convoluted, and there are so many layers to what happened. Matthiesen does a pretty good job of tryin to sort it all ou Detailed almost to the point of excrutiating, but overall excellent recitation of the events leading up to the killing of 2 FBI agents in Oglala, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Matthiesen's research is painstaking, and once I realized how the book was organized it made sense and I could follow it (he hides his explanation in the notes for each section). The facts are incredibly convoluted, and there are so many layers to what happened. Matthiesen does a pretty good job of tryin to sort it all out. I'm not sure I'm convinced of Peltier's "innocence" but I certainly believe that justice was miscarried in the desparate acts of the FBI and the office of the US Attorney, to get vengance for the killings.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Butler

    33rd book read in 2017. Number 339 out of 598 on my all time book list.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chinook

    This is the longest audiobook I've listened to so far - and I'm glad it occurred to me to speed it up a bit because I was enjoying the information provided but it was starting to drag on a bit long and the library hold was about to expire for the second time. I think this is a good book for everyone to better understand the background to the No DAPL movement. The connection isn't made until much later in the book, but it's eventually suggested that the attempts by the FBI to disrupt AIM and like This is the longest audiobook I've listened to so far - and I'm glad it occurred to me to speed it up a bit because I was enjoying the information provided but it was starting to drag on a bit long and the library hold was about to expire for the second time. I think this is a good book for everyone to better understand the background to the No DAPL movement. The connection isn't made until much later in the book, but it's eventually suggested that the attempts by the FBI to disrupt AIM and liken them to communists was driven by land grabs for resources, especially related to power production. It also ties into a lot of he work being done right now to show the abuses by police and courts against innocent suspects that was made popular by Serial. I found the background to the book being suppressed by court cases fascinating as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Arcand

    How one talk about a book that is so bias and so necessary? The author Peter Matthiessen does not pretend to be objective but admits up front that this book was written to right a grievous injustice. An injustice that didn’t start with the incident in Oglala in which three people were killed, an Indian and two FBI agents who were shot at close range, and of whose death Leonard Peltier has been held responsible and for which he is still doing time. While this incident and the “frame up” of Leonard How one talk about a book that is so bias and so necessary? The author Peter Matthiessen does not pretend to be objective but admits up front that this book was written to right a grievous injustice. An injustice that didn’t start with the incident in Oglala in which three people were killed, an Indian and two FBI agents who were shot at close range, and of whose death Leonard Peltier has been held responsible and for which he is still doing time. While this incident and the “frame up” of Leonard Peltier are the obvious subjects of the book, the author puts them in context by going back to the Wounded Knee massacre and the decades of injustice that lead to this 1975 shoot out. To understand, even just a little, the frame of mind of the Indian protagonists, one as to walk a little in their shoes and this is what Mathiessen does by telling of the oppression, the injustice and the poverty that has been their lot. Reading this book I could not help being moved by the strength and leadership of the AIM leaders who had decided that they had enough. In front of such injustice they showed a lot of discipline. Mathiessien doesn’t make them out to be saints. He shows them with their flaws and all but he always portray them with compassion. The author did a very thorough research and, in his effort to show us the context and clear Peltier’s name he goes into minute details about the lives of the protagonists, the incident of 1975 itself and the trial. So much so, that I had difficulties at times following the different characters - especially when the book moves back and forth in time - but at other times the book reads like a legal thriller. When I closed the book, felt that I knew these people better and I wanted to learn more about what happened to them since the book was published. I also wanted to know more about the life and death of Annie May Aquash, who is one of the major women characters in this book. Was I convinced about Peltier’s innocence? Not necessarily, but I was convinced that there was ground for a new trial. As with any book discussing the plight to the North American Indian I can’t help feeling guilty. I am descendant of the people who took their land and the prosperity of my people was founded on pillage and genocide of their ancestors. There is also the fact that I live in a country, Canada, where there are pockets of people living in third world conditions and that a lot of those people are from the First Nation. A book such as “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” is still necessary thirty years after it was published because, over and over again, Indians have been victims of racism and injustice. Even as I’m writing, the authorities and the public are showing cruel indifference the hundred of aboriginal women who have gone missing in Canada. As Dino Butler wrote: We must always fight for what we believe in. We must never tire in our fight. It does not really matter how we fight what matters is what we are fighting for. So for the scope of the book and its righteous aim, I give it four stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    This is an important book, and I'm impressed with the amount of research and time Matthiessen put into it, and I think the story needed to be told. That said, I spent the vast majority of it wishing that an unbiased journalist would come shove him away from his computer, steal his notes, and take over writing the book for him. I agree with him on pretty much everything, but still he was so biased that he undermined his own point of view. At one point he actually argued that the fact that the mur This is an important book, and I'm impressed with the amount of research and time Matthiessen put into it, and I think the story needed to be told. That said, I spent the vast majority of it wishing that an unbiased journalist would come shove him away from his computer, steal his notes, and take over writing the book for him. I agree with him on pretty much everything, but still he was so biased that he undermined his own point of view. At one point he actually argued that the fact that the murder of an Indian on an Indian reservation was even investigated was proof of conspiracy against Indians. And if that's not enough for you, he spends many other parts of the book arguing that failure to investigate murders of Indians is proof of governmental indifference to the plight of Indians on reservations. Look, Matthiessen, I appreciate your hard work, and I overwhelmingly agree with you, both in perspective and conclusions. But your editor did you no favors by not calling you on your bullshit. I stopped reading this book in irritation about 300 pages in and never would've picked it back up if I hadn't seen the movie William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    I don't think you can hold the shortcomings of this book against Matthiessen. As with any complicated, partisan event, each perspective offers only one piece of the patchwork. And this is an important one, even if some of the information that's emerged since its publication challenges some of aspects of Peltier's defenders' arguments. Nonetheless, the book is commendable for its examination of the renewed wars against Native Americans as the coal, oil and uranium under their lands became increasi I don't think you can hold the shortcomings of this book against Matthiessen. As with any complicated, partisan event, each perspective offers only one piece of the patchwork. And this is an important one, even if some of the information that's emerged since its publication challenges some of aspects of Peltier's defenders' arguments. Nonetheless, the book is commendable for its examination of the renewed wars against Native Americans as the coal, oil and uranium under their lands became increasingly important to industry interests. And although it's hard to judge the extent to which he was impartially critical of the evidence of government wrongdoing in the case -- what he pulls together is pretty staggering, a good civics reminder. As a journalist, I would have preferred he erred more on the side of explictly sourcing more of his material.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    This is a lengthly and sobering account of the American Indian Movement in the 60's and 70's, and the continuing conflict between Native Americans and the U.S. Government. There are references to broken treaties between our government and Indian tribes, racism, and the poor conditions on Indian Reservations. The main element of the book concerns Leonard Pelteir, convicted of murdering two FBI agents on a reservation during a shoot-out between Native Americans and the FBI. Apparently, the publish This is a lengthly and sobering account of the American Indian Movement in the 60's and 70's, and the continuing conflict between Native Americans and the U.S. Government. There are references to broken treaties between our government and Indian tribes, racism, and the poor conditions on Indian Reservations. The main element of the book concerns Leonard Pelteir, convicted of murdering two FBI agents on a reservation during a shoot-out between Native Americans and the FBI. Apparently, the publishing of this book was delayed by eight years due to lawsuits brought by the FBI to prevent damaging information about its conduct leading up to the incident, and during the prosecution of the case. Matthiessen was clearly sympathetic to the Indian cause, but it's not hard to understand why. The book does a good job in telling a neglected story, but it's a sad reminder of past unjustices.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    If you want to learn about what the FBI did to the American Indian Movement in the 1960s and 1970s with COINTELPRO and you want to learn about the events that led to the wrongful imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, then read this book. We didn't stop oppressing and killing Indians in the 1800s... If you want to learn about what the FBI did to the American Indian Movement in the 1960s and 1970s with COINTELPRO and you want to learn about the events that led to the wrongful imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, then read this book. We didn't stop oppressing and killing Indians in the 1800s...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mr.B

    Nonfiction. Two words... Leonard Peltier. Two more words... Oglala Shoot-out. Two more words... FBI tampering. Enough said.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I am very sympathetic to Native causes, and the repeatedly nauseating abuse they suffer time and time again at the hands of white imperialism throughout the entirety of our shared history. It is so frustrating to see these issues STILL continuing, with the Dakota Access Pipeline on Standing Rock land. Peter Matthiessen did good research, and clearly built a lot of goodwill with the principal figures of these events. His storytelling is incredibly biased, even if 100% true, but it is bias that th I am very sympathetic to Native causes, and the repeatedly nauseating abuse they suffer time and time again at the hands of white imperialism throughout the entirety of our shared history. It is so frustrating to see these issues STILL continuing, with the Dakota Access Pipeline on Standing Rock land. Peter Matthiessen did good research, and clearly built a lot of goodwill with the principal figures of these events. His storytelling is incredibly biased, even if 100% true, but it is bias that the Native people deserve. His detailing is laborious, though, and he loses my attention numerous times as he recounts reams of facts and eye-witness accounts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This book was long, detailed, well researched and exhausting. I learned a great deal about the Wounded Knee occupation and about the Oglala shoot out- occurrences that I recall hearing about in the 70s. Matthiessen spent an incredible amount of time and effort researching and writing this book. His opinion is pretty clear but his reporting seems balanced. It's an eye opener regarding our government's attitude and treatment of Native Americans, (or Indians, as they identified in the book) in the This book was long, detailed, well researched and exhausting. I learned a great deal about the Wounded Knee occupation and about the Oglala shoot out- occurrences that I recall hearing about in the 70s. Matthiessen spent an incredible amount of time and effort researching and writing this book. His opinion is pretty clear but his reporting seems balanced. It's an eye opener regarding our government's attitude and treatment of Native Americans, (or Indians, as they identified in the book) in the modern day. Not much changed from 1890 to 1975 in that way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Sped through this incredibly engaging and super disturbing (like everything about the history of America and its absolutely horrifying behavior toward indigenous populations) book. I'm glad I came across it at my mom's house right now, as I'm involved in convos at work about native invisibility. looking up pictures of all the people along the way, remembering bury my heart at wounded knee. And "songs my brothers taught me" from Sundance a bunch of years ago. and STANDING ROCK. Sped through this incredibly engaging and super disturbing (like everything about the history of America and its absolutely horrifying behavior toward indigenous populations) book. I'm glad I came across it at my mom's house right now, as I'm involved in convos at work about native invisibility. looking up pictures of all the people along the way, remembering bury my heart at wounded knee. And "songs my brothers taught me" from Sundance a bunch of years ago. and STANDING ROCK.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James F

    One of the most important events happening in the country today, though eclipsed in the media by the Clinton-Trump circus, is the resistance by Native Americans and their allies to the Dakota Access Pipeline. This book is important background to the Standing Rock struggle. Despite the mention of Crazy Horse in the title, this is not a book about the nineteenth century genocide against the Indians, which is covered in a first chapter only as background. What it is, is an account of the resurgence One of the most important events happening in the country today, though eclipsed in the media by the Clinton-Trump circus, is the resistance by Native Americans and their allies to the Dakota Access Pipeline. This book is important background to the Standing Rock struggle. Despite the mention of Crazy Horse in the title, this is not a book about the nineteenth century genocide against the Indians, which is covered in a first chapter only as background. What it is, is an account of the resurgence of traditional Indian beliefs and the defense of Indian lands against the energy companies and the government beginning in the 1960s, largely though not entirely through the influence of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and the government's attempt to destroy that movement, culminating in the trial and imprisonment of Leonard Peltier. This is not an impartial account, but an indictment of the United States government's disregard of law, due process, and elementary decency in their campaign against a movement that threatened the profits of the energy companies. The book does not gloss over the faults of AIM, which are admitted by many of the AIM leaders themselves; they had a confrontational strategy and an unrealistic view of the possibilities of armed struggle against the government, and did not seek the sort of alliances that might have aided their cause -- the Black Hills Alliance and other attempts to unite with the general environmental movement, which led up to the current movement at Standing Rock, all came later. However, the book also documents that most of the important confrontations were forced on the activists by the government, the corrupt and violent tribal government on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and the right-wing vigilante groups, and that there was an element of paranoia on the part of the FBI (remember this was the era of COINTELPRO) which resulted in a virtual state of war, with murders, rapes, assaults, and home invasions on the part of the FBI and the BIA and their supporters. The judicial process was constantly subverted in all the trials of AIM activists, not just in the case of Leonard Peltier. The book is divided into three parts; the first part is background on AIM and the Wounded Knee occupation, the second part deals with the shoot-out for which Peltier was arrested and the trials, and the final part deals with the struggle to get the conviction overturned. I remember that the first significant political meeting I ever attended, was to hear an AIM spokesman, Lee Brightman, talk about Wounded Knee at the Upper West Side Militant Forum in New York, when I was a college student. This is a book that is difficult to read, simply because it made me so angry I had to stop reading every few minutes to cool off. I hope it has the same effect on other readers. After being published in 1983, it was suppressed due to lawsuits by Governor Janklow of South Dakota, and an FBI agent mentioned in the book; it was not republished until 1991. Leonard Peltier remains in prison; every President from Bush through Obama has refused to pardon him or commute his sentence, despite the documentation of government misconduct, falsified evidence and lack of due process at the trial. Although Matthiessen was a good writer, this is not a particularly well-written book. Perhaps because of the mass of information he had to deal with, it is poorly organized and much of the information is presented out of order, skipping backwards and forwards in a confusing way; and often it was hard to remember who some of the minor characters were when they reappear later on. The information about the role of the energy companies in the Black Hills, which makes sense out of the whole government policy, is introduced at the beginning of Part III. But for all its faults, this is an important book for anyone who wants to know what lengths the US government will go to to crush dissent when it threatens the interests of the energy companies, as we are seeing today at Standing Rock and elsewhere. As I was reading this, and also following Standing Rock on the Internet (it's not being adequately covered in the media) I saw two other things: the largest land grab of Indian lands since the nineteenth century is being considered now in Congress; and one of my Facebook friends was just arrested tonight for protesting another pipeline in New York.

  21. 5 out of 5

    CinnamonWolf

    This is a book that bashed the government so hard it got pulled off the shelves for years while fighting about $49 million dollars in libel suits and won both of them (each of them multiple times as well). Count. Me. In. Most books about Native Americans that I've encountered seem to fall into two categories: 1. a generic sweep of the whole continent as the whites came and ruined it all; 2. over-romanticized recountings of how perfect Native Americans used to be. Obviously, both of these angles a This is a book that bashed the government so hard it got pulled off the shelves for years while fighting about $49 million dollars in libel suits and won both of them (each of them multiple times as well). Count. Me. In. Most books about Native Americans that I've encountered seem to fall into two categories: 1. a generic sweep of the whole continent as the whites came and ruined it all; 2. over-romanticized recountings of how perfect Native Americans used to be. Obviously, both of these angles are incredibly limited. In the Spirit of Crazy Horse is very different. There is a hint of romantization, but given the topic and context I am willing to forgive it. The book focuses on specific people and specific events, leading to an incredible farce of a trial, a kind of real-life To Kill a Mockingbird, if I may give such a comparison. I'd have this book as recommended reading for every American and every citizen of the world interested in human rights. There's many reasons for that, but the main one I'd like to express is that most people imagine the Native American struggle as something that happened "hundreds of years ago". This book makes it clear that the story was very far from over 40 years ago and most likely is still continuing. Though, I admit, there may be better books on the topic out there. This just happens to be the one that I got my hands on. Now, why only 4 stars then? Firstly, I am bad at reading books of this type. I'm overall hopeless at history, dates, and names. Lots of this stuff here. Lots of repetitions, recollections, uncertainties, etc. When I first started using Goodreads I made the decision that I will not try to be an impartial reviewer but give my personal rating on how much I, personally, enjoyed the book. Secondly, I wonder how much of it is a little out of date. The Epilogue (clearly added after the first edition was published as it mentions the lawsuits) also mentions quite a few interesting developments that I'm incredibly curious about. For example, the 12 million signatures the Soviet Union sent to the White House demanding Peltier's freedom and the mysterious soviet ophtalmologists that gave him medical care in prison. From what I gathered from a quick internet search, Leonard Peltier was still in prison in 2016 for a crime in 1975 which he did not commit. What's the current status? It's hard to find information I am willing to trust. Not to mention, I sometimes question my own willingness to wholeheartedly believe the verdict in this book since it is so incredibly one-sided. On the other hand, it does not take a lot of reading and thinking to pick up a pattern when it comes to conflicts between the white settlers and Native Americans. As sad as it is, I really do feel like the Native American perspective is probably almost always closer to the truth than whatever the government ever seems to claim.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    There is no doubt in my mind or my people's minds you are going to sentence me to two consecutive life terms. You are and have always been prejudiced against me and any Native Americans who have stood before you; you have openly favored the government all through this trial and you are happy to do whatever the FBI would want you to do in this case. I did not always believe this to be so! When I first saw you in the courtroom in Sioux Falls, your dignified appearance misled me into thinking that y There is no doubt in my mind or my people's minds you are going to sentence me to two consecutive life terms. You are and have always been prejudiced against me and any Native Americans who have stood before you; you have openly favored the government all through this trial and you are happy to do whatever the FBI would want you to do in this case. I did not always believe this to be so! When I first saw you in the courtroom in Sioux Falls, your dignified appearance misled me into thinking that you were a fair-minded person who knew something of the law and who would act in accordance with the law! Which meant that you would be impartial and not favor one side or the other in this law suit. That has not been the case and I now firmly believe that you will impose consecutive life terms solely because that way you think will avoid the displeasures of the FBI. Neither my people nor myself know why you would be so concerned about an organization that has brought so much shame to the American people. But you are! Your conduct during this trial leaves no doubt that you will do the bidding of the FBI without any hesitation! You are about to perform an act which will close one more chapter in the history of the failure of the United States courts and the failure of the people of the United States to do justice in the case of a Native American. After centuries of murder... could I have been wise in thinking that you would break that tradition and commit an act of justice? Obviously not! Because I should have realized that what I detected was only a very thin layer of dignity and surely not of fine character. If you think my accusations have been harsh and unfounded, I will explain why I have reached these conclusions and why I think my criticism has not been harsh enough. First, each time my defense team tried to expose FBI misconduct... and tried to present evidence of this, you claimed it was irrelevant to this trial. But the prosecution was allowed to present their case with evidence that was in no way relevant - for example, an automobile blowing up on a freeway in Wichita, Kansas; an attempted murder in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for which I have not been found innocent or guilty; a van loaded with legally purchased firearms and a policeman who claims someone fired at him in Oregon state. The Supreme Court of the United States tried to prevent convictions of this sort by passing into law that only past convictions may be presented as evidence... This court knows very well I have no prior convictions, nor am I even charged with some of these alleged crimes; therefore, they cannot be used as evidence in order to receive a conviction in this farce called a trial. This is why I strongly believe you will impose two life terms, running consecutively, on me. Second, you could not make a reasonable decision about my sentence because you suffer from at least one of three defects that prevent a rational conclusion: you plainly demonstrated this in your decision about the Jimmy Eagle and Myrtle Poor Bear aspects of this case. In Jimmy's case, only a judge who consciously and openly ignores the law would call it irrelevant to my trial; in the mental torture of Myrtle Poor Bear you said her testimony would shock the conscience of the American people if believed! But YOU decided what was to be believed - not the jury! Your conduct shocks the conscience of what the American legal system stands for! - the search for the truth by a jury of citizens. What was it that made you so afraid to let that testimony in? Your own guilt of being part of a corrupted pre-planned trial to get a conviction no matter how your reputation would be tarnished? For these reasons, I strongly believe you will do the bidding of the FBI and give me two consecutive life terms. Third, in my opinion, anyone who failed to see the relationship between the undisputed facts of these events surrounding the investigation used by the FBI in their interrogation of the Navajo youths - Wilford Draper, who was tied to a chair for three hours and denied access to his attorney; the outright threats to Norman Brown's life; the bodily harm threatened to Mike Anderson; and, finally, the murder of Anna Mae Aquash - must be blind, stupid, or without human feelings so there is no doubt and little chance that you have the ability to avoid doing today what the FBI wants you to do, which is to sentence me to two life terms running consecutively. Fourth, you do not have the ability to see that the conviction of an A.I.M. activist helps to cover up what the government's own evidence showed: that large numbers of Indian people engaged in that fire fight on June 26, 1975. You do not have the ability to see that the government must suppress that fact that there is a growing anger amongst Indian people and that Native Americans will resist any further encroachments by the military forces of the capitalistic Americans, which is evidenced by the large number of Pine Ridge residents who took up arms on June 26, 1975, to defend themselves. Therefore, you do not have the ability to carry out your responsibility towards me in an impartial way and will run my two life terms consecutively. Fifth, I stand before you as a proud man; I feel no guilt! I have done nothing to feel guilty about! I have no regrets of being a Native American activist - thousands of people in the United States, Canada, and around the world have and will continue to support me to expose the injustices which have occurred in this courtroom. I do feel pity for your people that they must live under such an ugly system. Under your system, you are taught greed, racism, and corruption - and most serious of all, the destruction of Mother Earth. Under the Native American system, we are taught all people are Brothers and Sisters; to share the wealth with the poor and needy. But the most important of all is to respect and preserve the Earth, who we consider to be our Mother. We feed from her breast; our Mother gives us life from birth and when it's time to leave this world, who again takes us back into her womb. But the main thing we are taught is to preserve her for our children and our grandchildren, because they are the next who will live upon her. No, I'm not the guilty one here; I'm not the one who should be called a criminal - white racist America is the criminal for the destruction of our lands and my people; to hide your guilt from the decent human beings in America and around the world, you will sentence me to two consecutive life terms without any hesitation... If you were impartial, you would have had an open mind on all the factual disputes in this case. But you were unwilling to allow even the slightest possibility that a law enforcement officer would lie on the stand. Then how could you possibly be impartial enough to let my lawyers prove how important it is to the FBI to convict a Native American activist in this case? You do not have the ability to see that such conviction is an important part of the efforts to discredit those who are trying to alert their Brothers and Sisters to the new threat from the white man, and the attempt to destroy what little Indian land remains in the process of extracting our uranium, oil, and other minerals. Again, to cover up your part in this, you will call me a heartless, cold-blooded murderer who deserves two life sentences consecutively... Finally, I honestly believe that you made up your mind long ago that I was guilty and that you were going to sentence me to the maximum sentence permitted under the law. But this does not surprise me, because you are a high-ranking member of the white racist American establishment which has consistently said, "In God We Trust," while they went about the business of murdering my people and attempting to destroy our culture.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    This is an unusual book by the author of The Shadow Country, one of my all time favorite books. "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" is an obsessional catalog of historical facts, a vast array of individuals, profound controversies and injustices, large and small. The heart of the book is an excruciatingly detailed discussion of the shoot out between the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and Native Americans living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and members of AIM ( the American Indian Movement). This is an unusual book by the author of The Shadow Country, one of my all time favorite books. "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" is an obsessional catalog of historical facts, a vast array of individuals, profound controversies and injustices, large and small. The heart of the book is an excruciatingly detailed discussion of the shoot out between the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and Native Americans living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and members of AIM ( the American Indian Movement). The confrontation on June 26, 1975 resulted in the death of two FBI agents and one Indian. Much of the book is concerned with the arrest, extradition (from Canada), trials, appeals and incarceration of AIM leader Leonard Peltier, currently serving 2 consecutive life sentences for the murder of the agents. At times the voluminous details and lengthy verbatim transcriptions of interviews and depositions is mind numbing. At others, it is fascinating and gripping. I'm glad I read this book, but it is not for everyone. (I nearly put it down a few times.) It feels like the book is an act of bearing witness rather than of literary or artistic ambition. The idea of bearing witness is what helped me stick with it through 600 pages. The book does not settle the question of who shot who, when. But Peltier has never had a fair trial, appeal or parole hearing. The claims of Native Americans remain so threatening in the United States that justice long ago gave way to repression and punishment. The story is complex and tragic, but the only appropriate response is outrage.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book recounts an almost unbelievable tale of corruption and serves as a good reminder of just how ineffective and horrifying the justice system becomes in the hands of people with political agendas. Sure, this account was biased, but it doesn't change the fact that a man was purposely railroaded and denied every ounce of fair treatment and the ability, through the withholding of evidence, for a fair trial. Nor does it seem that the actions taken against the American Indian Movement, however This book recounts an almost unbelievable tale of corruption and serves as a good reminder of just how ineffective and horrifying the justice system becomes in the hands of people with political agendas. Sure, this account was biased, but it doesn't change the fact that a man was purposely railroaded and denied every ounce of fair treatment and the ability, through the withholding of evidence, for a fair trial. Nor does it seem that the actions taken against the American Indian Movement, however they could be spun, could be adequately explained away. There is simply no sound justification for these things in a free society. The book is massive, and it needs to be in order to unravel the layers and layers of this story and the surrounding circumstances. It is diligently researched and thoughtfully written, though at times it becomes overwhelming. It was an important book to read, and I enjoyed it in the way I enjoy a lot of textbooks. My middle of the road rating merely indicates that as a piece of literature, I just can't quite equate it with some others that I truly love. Still, as a work that examines power, corruption, and the silencing of a political group, it seems a very important one to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joeri Ryckaseys

    I have finally read through Pieter Matthiesen's "In the spirit of crazy horse". I've been interested a long time in the case of Leonard Peltier. The shootout on the 26th of june 1975 in Oglala, Pine Ridge Reservation was part of the bullying and harassment of the FBI and BIA against the Lakota there. Agents Coler and Williams were searching for Jimmy Eagle and went out on there own. They found Dino Butler, Bob Robideau and Leonard Peltier and started shooting at them. Ofcourse they fired back. T I have finally read through Pieter Matthiesen's "In the spirit of crazy horse". I've been interested a long time in the case of Leonard Peltier. The shootout on the 26th of june 1975 in Oglala, Pine Ridge Reservation was part of the bullying and harassment of the FBI and BIA against the Lakota there. Agents Coler and Williams were searching for Jimmy Eagle and went out on there own. They found Dino Butler, Bob Robideau and Leonard Peltier and started shooting at them. Ofcourse they fired back. The two agents were awaiting back up but ofcourse more indians came and started firing back. Eventually the two agents got killed. First the court wanted to prosecute Butler and Robideau in the Cedar Rapids trial but they were acquited. Since the FBI couldn't prove anything they fabricated evidence. Frustrated, the FBI let go of Jimmy Eagle and focused on Peltier. Again they fabricated evidence and even threatened and harassed witnesses. Myrtle Poor Bear was used as a witness while she was mentally weak and instable. Judge Benson was also very prejudiced and denied many witnesses that could help Peltier. Many FBI documents were witheld from the defense. Eventually Peltier got convicted with two lifetime sentences. Many demands for parole and new trials got refused. Even Barack Obama denied parole for Peltier (now I have lost most of my respect or Obama for sure). Even later many documents got released which could prove Leonards situation. He indeed joined the shooting but was not responsible for the killing. The real 'killer' was an indian who didn't had a criminal record but was just acting out of self defense when he went to help the two agents. They were wounded and started shooting again the moment he wanted to offer help. I'm glad I've read this book. I think about writing a new letter to Peltier. The last one I send was about five years ago. The book proves how much prejudice, racisme and hate there still is among the elite, the court and the FBI in the US. The book got sued many times but survived each trial.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brook

    This is a tough one to review. Matthiessen has put together something very well-researched, and engaging, yet about as unbiased as a Glenn Beck rant. You will come to see the divisions among native peoples (the skins and the half-breeds), and how greed and corruption are universal. I mean, we all know this, but this book pretty thoroughly shoots holes through any "nobile Indian" narrative. That's not to say MAtthiessen writes to bring down native peoples. Rather he simply points out that there a This is a tough one to review. Matthiessen has put together something very well-researched, and engaging, yet about as unbiased as a Glenn Beck rant. You will come to see the divisions among native peoples (the skins and the half-breeds), and how greed and corruption are universal. I mean, we all know this, but this book pretty thoroughly shoots holes through any "nobile Indian" narrative. That's not to say MAtthiessen writes to bring down native peoples. Rather he simply points out that there are those on the reservation who benefit from what, for lack of a better term, is the spoils system (the half-breeds). These are those who collect the lion's share of the government checks, who own the land, the businesses, and who are most adept at playing the system. Peter very clearly does not like these people. The Skins, while somehow portrayed as more "noble," are also caught out of time, unable to navigate government bureaucracy, and wanting to go back to the land, actual conditions notwithstanding. This is a (true, minus the biased language referring to agents as "pigs," etc) tale of extreme violence, violence, theft and rape with impunity. A tale of BIA agents, law enforcement, and whites who see only animals, who think nothing more of stopping a car and murdering everyone in it than some guys in hoods did in the American South. The level of said violence, and of the way it was handled, is damned near identical to what one reads of accounts of lynching in the South, all the way down to juries who just dont give a shit. One sees (according to Matthiessen) federal agencies who actively undermined AIM and other movements, who stuck in plants/informants that stole, informed, and said and did things to undermine the organizations they claimed to represent. This is a very, very sad book. It is also very long, written in great detail (to make a case, I suppose), and can drag at times.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin Powell

    I feel bad giving this a 3 star rating, because I still want people to read it. It's a book about how the US government (mostly the FBI's Cointelpro project but touches on the government during the treaty of 1868 till present) has been committing atrocities against Native Americans. The story centers around the Leonard Peltier incident and the before and after of that event. The book succeeded in making me mad/sad about all of the injustices that the US govt and justice system has committed agai I feel bad giving this a 3 star rating, because I still want people to read it. It's a book about how the US government (mostly the FBI's Cointelpro project but touches on the government during the treaty of 1868 till present) has been committing atrocities against Native Americans. The story centers around the Leonard Peltier incident and the before and after of that event. The book succeeded in making me mad/sad about all of the injustices that the US govt and justice system has committed against indigenous people. Also, how INSANE is it that the FBI and governor literally stalked the author because they were mad that he published this? I think everyone needs to know this story, and it's not taught in schools, which is why I want people to read the book... However, I felt like I was reading the author's unnecessarily long inner monologue with random facts and quotes interjected here and there. It was so hard to keep track of the characters and follow the story. I tried taking notes but there were too many specific people and events to write down. My favorite parts of the book were quotes from other people and books, not from the author himself. The first 200ish pages of the book are probably skimmable if you know a good deal about the history of US govt relations with indigenous people. Included in the beginning is an extremely detailed account of everyone involved in the AIM organization and their entire life stories. I didn't feel as if that info was relevant to the actual Peltier story, and don't think it was necessary for me to read about every single skirmish that these people got into when they were barely mentioned in the later parts of the book. If you don't want to spend hours reading this book, at least research Leonard Peltier and the FBI's nutty behavior towards indigenous people. I think this issue deserves a lot more of our attention.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    An amazing history book of horrific happenings in South Dakota. I was not aware of the full story of Leonard Peltier and the killing of two FBI agents in June 1975. I am disheartened with the amount of lies and violent crimes carried out by both the FBI and people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I thought I would come to a clear-cut opinion that Leonard Peltier should be let out of prison, but all the lies made it too complicated for me to do that. In my opinion, Peltier did not get a fair trial. An amazing history book of horrific happenings in South Dakota. I was not aware of the full story of Leonard Peltier and the killing of two FBI agents in June 1975. I am disheartened with the amount of lies and violent crimes carried out by both the FBI and people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I thought I would come to a clear-cut opinion that Leonard Peltier should be let out of prison, but all the lies made it too complicated for me to do that. In my opinion, Peltier did not get a fair trial. Things that happened make me think there is no real justice in our system. I am sickened by the behavior of some in the FBI, Justice Department, and Judge Benson. The FBI fabricated evidence, the Judge wouldn't allow many important things to be heard by the jury. It is such a bummer when law enforcement are bad guys. I read the 1992 edition with an Afterward about how Governor Janklow and retired FBI Agent David Price sued the author and Viking Press after the publication of the book in 1983, and the results after 7 years of those cases. Even though at times this book is hard to read, I recommend it to everyone. You will see that the current political climate was alive and well in South Dakota in the 1970s and 1980s.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The story is told as a drawn-out series of accounts of the famous shoot-out at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1975, but also concerning many other related events and combined with extracts of court transcripts and of the author’s interviews. Ultimately it’s never clear why FBI agents were at the shoot-out site initially, who shot whom when, and exactly what Leonard Peltier had to do with it. Most or all prosecutorial, FBI, and presented “witness” accounts seem unreliable, a The story is told as a drawn-out series of accounts of the famous shoot-out at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1975, but also concerning many other related events and combined with extracts of court transcripts and of the author’s interviews. Ultimately it’s never clear why FBI agents were at the shoot-out site initially, who shot whom when, and exactly what Leonard Peltier had to do with it. Most or all prosecutorial, FBI, and presented “witness” accounts seem unreliable, and there is now knowledge of either fabricated ballistic evidence or information that was withheld about ballistic evidence. The author was clearly personally involved in this, his sympathies are immediately and everywhere clear. He brings the story to us in a protracted repetitive fashion, but the main disappointment for the reader is that almost everything is left in the air, and although it seems clear that Peltier was picked by the FBI to take the fall and then received a sham trial, it is also clear that two FBI agents were murdered (it's not self-defense when you shoot a wounded man in the head), and that Peltier is a serial felon from adolescence. An account related to the author from an unnamed and disguised Indian "X" confessing to the murders given near the end of the book didn't seem to be a more reliable account than any other. ======================================== I have had some interest in lying in the past, and I noticed that many of the stories told on both sides are of a type commonly used when lying (see the current liar-in-chief or, especially, Mr. Putin). If I ask you if you did something, a common truthful response might be "no", but a common untruthful response is, "Why would a person like me do something like that?".

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    This was a disturbing but necessary book. We should all understand the systemic exploitation, genocide and distortions of law against Native Americans for land, mineral and water rights. Especially when we watch current struggles to protect water and land rights today. Context matters. The author allows witnesses and records tell most of the story. Conclusions are my own. Gross government misconduct fueled by racism and greed is horrific. The topic is researched in almost tedious detail. However This was a disturbing but necessary book. We should all understand the systemic exploitation, genocide and distortions of law against Native Americans for land, mineral and water rights. Especially when we watch current struggles to protect water and land rights today. Context matters. The author allows witnesses and records tell most of the story. Conclusions are my own. Gross government misconduct fueled by racism and greed is horrific. The topic is researched in almost tedious detail. However, given the extent of the behavior and deliberate misinformation surrounding these events, it’s justified. I found the narrator engaging and enjoyed the audiobook. The content often left me nauseated, disheartened, enraged and incredibly sad. I think that’s as it should be. Another good book detailing the evolution of systemic humanitarian and legal abuses against and the erosion of Native American culture is Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann.

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