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Nov 27, 201212:55 PMThe Telegraph

The Premier Blog of the West

Western Words: Book Recommendations For November 27, 2012

Nov 27, 2012 - 12:55 PM
Western Words: Book Recommendations For November 27, 2012

38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End, by Scott W. Berg

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has revived interest in the life and legacy of America’s 16th president.

While one of his landmark historic achievements was the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln also came to the defense of another beleaguered people in a conflict between federal troops and Dakota Indians along the Minnesota frontier.

In 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End, author Scott Berg related how the president, in the midst of some of the most fierce fighting of the Civil War, intervened after the military crushed a revolt led by Dakota leader Little Crow.

He commuted the execution sentences against more than 250 Indians convicted of murder, but the devastation felt by the tribe was still profound.

 

The Cowboy and the Cossack, by Clair Huffaker

Long out of print, this new paperback edition of The Cowboy and the Cossack will introduce one of Clair Huffaker’s most unique western tales to a new audience. It’s the story of 15 Montana cowboys who accept the challenge of driving a herd of 500 longhorns across one thousand miles of Siberian wilderness. The cowboys find that a Russian winter is not their only foe. A band of Cossacks arrive with an offer to “escort” the Americans, but before long the ensuing culture clash pits Russian sabers against American six-shooters. How has this not been made into a movie yet? Especially since Huffaker’s work is already known in Hollywood — his screenplays include The Comancheros, Flaming Star and The War Wagon.

 

Embracing Fry Bread: Confessions of a Wannabe, by Roger L. Welsch

While most young boys wanted to play cowboy, Roger Welsch wanted to play Indian. That desire never faded, and Welsch began a lifelong study of the Omaha and Pawnee tribes. College anthropology courses and linguistic studies eventually led him to a firsthand experience of reservation life, first as a visitor and later as an adopted member of the tribes. Insightful and humorous, Welsch’s experiences will delight anyone curious about life on “the rez,” and the richness of Native culture.

 

Fatal Revenge, by Phil Dunlap

With the second book in his Piedmont Kelly series, Phil Dunlap takes his intrepid US marshal to the small town of Purdy, where he hopes to solve a year-old murder. His only clue is a gold watch found in the pocket of a man who was killed in a saloon. Dunlap is known for writing the Old West as it really was, warts and all, and with Fatal Revenge he has crafted another intriguing story with an ending you may not expect.

 

Coming Through Fire: George Armstrong Custer and Chief Black Kettle, by Duane Schultz 

So much coverage has been given to Custer’s fatal last stand at Little Big Horn, it’s easy to forget the General also had a few victories on the battlefield, that at one time earned him the reputation as America’s greatest Indian fighter. One of these was against the Cheyenne nation, led by the warrior Black Kettle.

However, as related by Duane Schultz in this remarkably detailed account of the battle and its aftermath, Coming Through Fire may not do much to revive Custer’s reputation. What some recall as a battle Schultz describes as a massacre, against a leader who dreamed only of a peaceful resolution and a treaty that would not be broken by US interests.


For more recent book releases, check out last week's Western Words post.

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