The Earth is Weeping: The Indian Wars for the American West, 1866-1891

by Peter Cozzens

Hardcover, 2016





New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.


"With the end of the Civil War, the nation recommenced its expansion onto traditional Indian tribal lands, setting off a wide-ranging conflict that would last more than three decades. In an exploration of the wars and negotiations that destroyed tribal ways of life even as they made possible the emergence of the modern United States, Peter Cozzens gives us both sides in comprehensive and singularly intimate detail. He illuminates the encroachment experienced by the tribes and the tribal conflicts over whether to fight or make peace, and explores the squalid lives of soldiers posted to the frontier and the ethical quandaries faced by generals who often sympathized with their native enemies"

User reviews

LibraryThing member drmaf
In my experience, there are two types of history book which you know as soon as you pick up will be nothing but unrelieved tragedy. Books about the Holocaust, and books about the Native Americans. This is as good an entry as I have read in the latter field, giving a balanced view of the 30 years between 1861 and 1891 when Native Americans fought bravely but hopelessly against the surge of white settlement. There were heroes and villains on both sides (many more of the latter on the white side, inevitably). I think the best thing about the book is the even spread of coverage of all the conflicts. Famous and well-covered campaigns like Little Bighorn and the Apache wars are given no more than their fair share amongst lesser-known stories like the Modoc war, the running battles of the Nez Perce and the bitter Ute wars. But overall the sense of inevitable tragedy is overwhelming, the book ending on a wistful note of complete loss. This is not an enjoyable book, but its absorbing, wrenching and extremely well-written.… (more)
LibraryThing member 5hrdrive
Thoroughly depressing with too many bad guys on both sides of the fight. But as I was reading I started thinking about the Fourteenth Amendment and how it was possible to treat Native Americans as shabbily as we did. Didn't the Fourteenth Amendment obviously make them "natural born citizens"? Turns out the answer to that question is NO, at least until 1924. But several states ignored that, and that just depresses me even more. Read this and have your eyes opened, or don't read it and stay happy.… (more)



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