My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an handsome read, that is simultaneously horrible and heartbreaking. Handsome in that Hampton Sides is a good historical writer. Though it's a long endeavor, yet he made the subject interesting - even in the tedious spots. Handsome, also, in that the personalities came through nicely, with all of the quirks and kinks.
But it was horrible and heartbreaking in the treatment of Native Americans, Jingoism, ethnic pride, might-makes-right, deaths, etc. The misguided policies and plots made me cringe. But the horrible is part of the manliness of the book. Sides does not shy away from the less-than-glorious details. Not for voyeuristic pleasure, but to chronicle the realities of the day. And the heartbreaking comes at the end with the final moments of Josefa and Kit, that opens up into brokenhearted celebration with Navajos on the way home. I cried!
This is a good historical tale that will inform the reader of events, mindsets, worldviews, perspectives and blunders. It shows the calamities and miseries for all involved in the westward expansion. To take the time delving between the covers of this book will not be wasted or lost time. I highly recommend the book.
My deep thanks to the friends who gave me the book as a gift. I deeply enjoyed it!
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