A magnificent history of the American conquest of the West; "a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy" ( The New York Times Book Review ) .In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Read more...
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A magnificent history of the American conquest of the West; "a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy" (The New York Times Book Review).In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of "Manifest Destiny," this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.
At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.
Blood and Thunder
The best-selling author of Ghost Soldiers provides a detailed and fascinating account of the evolution of the West. Using Kit Carson, the famous soldier and trapper, as a sort of central character in the book, Sides opens his narrative in the 1820s, taking up the story of the Navajo Indians and their gradual decline. Carson, a colorful Western figure who could neither read nor write, spoke five different Indian languages and was well-acquainted with the Navajo tribe. Although he married two Native Americans, Carson eventually aided in their routing, obeying orders from the American government to assist with the slaughter of the Navajo, Kiowa and Comanche. This contradictory impulse ties into the one of the book's larger themesthe idea of Manifest Destiny and how it influenced America's growth and development. Sides also presents a vivid portrait of the Mexican War, looks at the Confederate Army's failed mission to expand its influence westward, and covers events like the Bear Flag Rebellion. Recounting more than 30 years of history, Sides' is a grand tale, grandly told. Written with authority and clarity, this spirited work illuminates a fascinating epoch in America's coming of age, shedding new light on the myth of the West and the growth of the frontier.
A reading group guide is available at readinggroupcenter.com.