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Product Description

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.

Review

“Riveting . . . monumental . .. . Not only does Blood and Thunder capture a pivotal moment in U.S. history in marvelous detail, it is also authoritative and masterfully told.” — The Washington Post Book World“Stunning. . . Both haunting and lyrical, Blood and Thunder is truly a masterpiece.” — Los Angeles Times“We see a panorama and a whole history, intricately laced with wonder and meaning, coalesce into a story of epic proportions, a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy . . . Sides fills a conspicuous void in the history of the American West.” —N. Scott Momaday, The New York Times Book Review“From the lean crisp descriptions of the characters to the sights, sounds and smells of the trail, this is a crystal clear picture of the West.” — San Antonio Express News

About the Author

A native of Memphis, Hampton Sides is editor-atlarge for Outside magazine and the author of the international best-seller, Ghost Soldiers (Doubleday), which was the basis for the 2005 Miramax film, The Great Raid. Ghost Soldiers won the 2002 PEN USA award for non-fiction and the 2002 Discover Award from Barnes & Noble, and his magazine work has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. Hampton is also the author of Americana (Anchor) and Stomping Grounds (William Morrow). A graduate of Yale with a B.A. in history, he lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1 

Jumping Off

In the two decades he had lived and wandered in the West, Christopher Carson had led an unaccountably full life. He was only thirty-six years old, but it seemed he had done everything there was to do in the Western wilds--had been everywhere, met everyone. As a fur trapper, scout, and explorer, he had traveled untold thousands of miles in the Rockies, in the Great Basin, in the Sierra Nevada, in the Wind River Range, in the Tetons, in the coastal ranges of Oregon. As a hunter he had crisscrossed the Great Plains any number of times following the buffalo herds. He had seen the Pacific, been deep into Mexico, pushed far into British-held territories of the Northwest. He had traversed the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave Deserts, gazed upon the Grand Canyon, stood at the life-leached margins of the Great Salt Lake. He had never seen the Hudson or the Potomac, but he had traced all the important rivers of the West--the Colorado, Platte, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Columbia, Green, Arkansas, Gila, Missouri, Powder, Big Horn, Snake, Salmon, Yellowstone, Rio Grande.

Carson was present at the creation, it seemed. He had witnessed the dawn of the American West in all its vividness and brutality. In his constant travels he had caromed off of or intersected with nearly every major tribal group and person of consequence. He had lived the sweep of the Western experience with a directness few other men could rival.

At first glance, Kit Carson was not much to look at, but that was a curious part of his charm. His bantam physique and modest bumpkin demeanor seemed interestingly at odds with the grandeur of the landscapes he had roamed. He stood only five-feet four-inches, with stringy brown hair grazing his shoulders. His jaw was clenched and squarish, his eyes a penetrating gray-blue, his mouth set in a tight little downturned construction that looked like a frown of mild disgust. The skin between his eyebrows was pinched in a furrow, as though permanently creased from constant squinting. His forehead rose high and craggy to a swept-back hairline. He had a scar along his left ear, another one on his right shoulder--both left by bullets. He appeared bowlegged from his years in the saddle, and he walked roundly, with a certain ungainliness, as though he were not entirely comfortable as a terrestrial creature, his sense of ease and familiarity of movement tied to his mule.

He was a man of odd habits and superstitions. He never would take a second shot at standing game if his initial shot missed--this, he believed, was "bad medicine." He never began a project on a Friday. He was fastidious about the way he dressed and cleaned any animal he killed. He believed in signs and omens. When he got a bad feeling about something or someone, he was quick to heed his instincts. A life of hard experience on the trail had taught him to be cautious at all times, tuned to danger. A magazine writer who rode with Carson observed with great curiosity the scout''s unfailing ritual as he prepared to bed down for the night: "His saddle, which he always used as a pillow, form[ed] a barricade for his head; his pistols half cocked were laid above it, and his trusty rifle reposed beneath the blanket by his side, ready for instant use. You never caught Kit exposing himself to the full glare of the camp fire." When traveling, the writer noticed, Carson "scarcely spoke," and his eye "was continually examining the country, his manner that of a man deeply impressed with a sense of responsibility."

When he did speak, Carson talked in the twangy cadences of backwoods Missouri-- thar and har, ain''t and yonder, thataway and crick and I reckon so. It seemed right that this ultimate Westerner should be from Missouri, the Ur-country of the trans-Mississippi frontier, the mother state.

Out west, Carson had learned to speak Spanish and French fluently, and he knew healthy smatterings of Navajo, Ute, Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, Blackfoot, Shoshone, and Paiute, among other native tongues. He also knew Indian sign language and, one way or another, could communicate with most any tribe in the West. And yet for all his facility with language, Kit Carson was illiterate.

Although he was a mountain man, a fraternity legendary for swilling and creative profanity, Carson was a straight arrow--"as clean as a hound''s tooth" as one friend put it. He liked poker and often smoked a pipe, but he drank very little and was not given to womanizing. He was now married to a Hispanic girl from Taos, Josefa Jaramillo. Slender, olive-skinned, and eighteen years his junior, Josefa possessed "a beauty of the haughty, heart-breaking kind" according to one smitten writer from Ohio who got to know her, "a beauty such as would lead a man with the glance of the eye to risk his life for one smile." Only fifteen years old when she married Carson, Josefa was a bit taller than her husband. She was a dark-complected, bright-eyed woman whom one family member described as "very well-built, and graceful in every way." Cristobal, as Josefa called him, was utterly devoted to her, and to please her family, he had converted to Catholicism.

Especially now that he was a married man, Carson gave off none of the mountain man''s swagger. "There was nothing like the fire-eater in his manner," wrote one admirer, "but, to the contrary, in all his actions he was unassuming." An army officer once introduced himself to Carson, saying, "So this is the distinguished Kit Carson who has made so many Indians run." To which Carson replied, "Yes, but most of the time they were running after me." His sense of humor was understated and dry, usually delivered with a faint grin and a glint of mischief in his eyes. When amused, he was prone to "sharp little barks of laughter." He spoke quietly, in short, deliberate sentences, using language that was, according to one account, "forcible, slow, and pointed, with the fewest words possible." A friend said Carson "never swore more''n was necessary."

Yes, Christopher Carson was a lovable man. Nearly everyone said so. He was loyal, honest, and kind. In many pinpointable incidents, he acted bravely and with much physical grace. More than once, he saved people''s lives without seeking recognition or pay. He was a dashing good Samaritan--a hero, even.

He was also a natural born killer. It is hard to reconcile the much-described sweetness of his disposition with his frenzies of violence. Carson could be brutal even for the West of his day (a West so wild it lacked outlaws, for no law yet existed to be outside of). His ferocious temper could be triggered in an instant. If you crossed him, he would find you. He pursued vengeance as though it were something sacred, with a kind of dogged focus that might be called tribal--his tribe being the famously grudge-happy Scotch-Irish.

When called upon to narrate his exploits, which he did reluctantly, he spoke with a clinical lack of emotion, and with a hit man''s sense of aesthetics. He liked to call his skirmishes pretty--as in "that was the prettiest fight I ever saw." He spoke of chasing down his enemies as "sport." After participating in a preemptive attack--others called it a massacre--on an Indian village along California''s Sacramento River, Carson pronounced the action "a perfect butchery."

By the macabre distinctions of his day, he was regarded not as an Indian killer but as an Indian-fighter--which was, if not a noble American profession, at least a venerable one. But Carson did not hate Indians, certainly not in any sort of abstract racial sense. He was no Custer, no Sheridan, no Andrew Jackson. If he had killed Native Americans, he had also befriended them, loved them, buried them, even married them. Through much of his life, he lived more like an Indian than a white man. Most of his Indian victims had died in what he judged to be fair fights, or at least fights that could have gone the other way. It was miraculous he was still alive: He''d had more close calls than he could count.

Because Carson''s direct words were rarely written, it''s hard to know what he really thought about Indians, or the violence of his times, or anything else. His autobiography, dictated in the mid-1850s (and turned into a biography by a tin-eared writer who has charitably been described as an "ass"), is a bone-dry recitation of his life and leaves us few clues. It was said that Carson told a pretty good story around a campfire, but his book carefully eschews anything approaching an insight. His refusal to pontificate was refreshing in a way--he lived in a golden age of windbags--but at the same time, his reticence in the face of the few big subjects of his life was remarkable. He was, and remains, a sort of Sphinx of the American West: His eyes had seen things, his mind held secrets, but he kept his mouth shut.

*

Christopher Houston Carson was born in a log cabin in Madison County, Kentucky, on Christmas Eve of 1809, the same year and the same state in which Lincoln was born. A year later the Carson family pulled up stakes and trekked west from Kentucky to the Missouri frontier, with little Christopher, whom they nicknamed "Kit," facing forward in the saddle, swaddled in his mother''s arms. The Carsons chose a spot in the wilderness near the Missouri River and hacked their farm from a large tract that had been part of a Spanish land grant bought by the sons of Daniel Boone, prior to the Louisiana Purchase. It was known indelicately as "Boone''s Lick," for the salt deposits that attracted wild game and which the Boone family successfully mined. The Boones and the Carsons would become close family friends--working, socializing, and intermarrying with one another.

Kit was a quiet, stubborn, reliable kid with bright blue eyes. Although he had a small frame--a consequence, perhaps, of his having been born two months premature--he was tough and strong, with large, agile hands. His first toy was a wooden gun whittled by one of his brothers. Kit showed enough intellectual promise at an early age that his father, Lindsey Carson, dreamed he would be a lawyer.

Lindsey Carson was a farmer of Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock who had lived most of his young life in North Carolina and fought in the Revolutionary War under Gen. Wade Hampton. The elder Carson had an enormous family--five children by his first wife and ten by Kit''s mother, Rebecca Robinson. Of those fifteen children, Kit was the eleventh in line.

The Boone''s Lick country, though uncultivated, was by no means uninhabited. Winnebago, Potawatomi, and Kickapoo Indians, among other tribes, had lived around the Missouri River Valley for many generations, and they were often aggressively hostile to white encroachment. For their own safety the pioneers in the Boone''s Lick country had to live huddled together in cabins built near forts, and the men tended the fields with armed sentries constantly patrolling the forest clearings. All able-bodied men were members of the local militia. Most cabins were designed with rifle loopholes so settlers, barricaded within, could defend themselves against Indian attacks. Kit and his siblings grew up with a constant fear of being kidnapped. "When we would go to school or any distance away from our house," Kit''s sister Mary Carson Rubey recalled years later, "we would carry bits of red cloth with us to drop if we were captured by Indians, so our people could trace us." Rubey remembered that, even as a little boy, Kit was an especially keen night watchman. "When we were asleep at night and there was the slightest noise outside the house, Kit''s little brown head would be the first to bob up. I always felt completely safe when Kit was on guard duty."

One day when Kit was four, Lindsey Carson went out with a small group of men to survey a piece of land when they were ambushed by Sac and Fox Indians. In the attack, Kit''s father was nearly killed. The stock of his rifle was shot apart and two fingers on his left hand were blown off. Another man in the party, William McLane, fell in the fight and, according to one vivid account, his Indian attackers cut out his heart and ate it.

Despite many incidents like this, some Missouri tribes were friendly with the settlers, or at least found it pragmatic to strike alliances and keep the peace. As a boy, Carson played with Indian children. The Sac and Fox tribes frequently came into the Boone''s Lick settlements and carried on a robust trade. From an early age, Carson learned an important practical truth of frontier life--that there was no such thing as "Indians," that tribes could be substantially and sometimes violently different from one another, and that each group must be dealt with separately, on its own terms.

*

Before settlers like the Boones and the Carsons arrived, the country along the Missouri River, like so much of North America, was heavily forested. To clear land for planting, pioneers would sometimes "girdle" trees--cutting deep rings around the trunks--to deaden them. But the most expeditious way for farmers to remove dense thickets of timber was to set them afire. One day in 1818, Lindsey Carson was burning the woods nearby when a large limb broke off from a burning tree, killing him instantly.

Kit was only seven at the time, and his life would be profoundly changed. Although some of Lindsey Carson''s children had grown up and moved out of the house, Rebecca Carson still had ten children to raise on her own. The Carsons were reduced to a desperate poverty. Kit''s schooling ceased altogether, and he spent his time working the fields, doing chores around the cabin, and hunting meat for his family. As Carson put it years later, "I jumped to my rifle and threw down my spelling book--and there it lies."

Briefly, Kit became a ward of a neighbor. Then in 1822, Kit''s mother remarried, and the obstreperous boy soon rebelled against his new stepfather. At age fourteen, Kit was apprenticed to a well-known saddler named David Workman in the small settlement of Franklin, Missouri. The boy hated this close and tedious shopwork. For nearly two years he sat at his bench each day, repairing harnesses and shaping scraps of hide with leatherworking tools. Because Franklin was situated on the eastern end of the newly cleared Santa Fe Trail, Workman''s clientele largely consisted of trappers and traders, and the shop was often filled with stirring tales from the Far West. This bedraggled tribe of men in their musky animal skins and peltries must have impressed the young boy mightily, and one senses how the worm of his imagination began to turn. Sitting miserably at his station with his shears and his awls and his crimping tools, transfixed by the bold stories of these feral men, Kit began to dream of Santa Fe--the name signifying not so much a specific place as a new kind of existence, a life of expanse and possibility in fresh precincts of the continent.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

James T. Phoenix
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Breathtaking
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2019
I''m really into history with quite a wide breadth. This is by far the most brilliantly written book I''ve ever read! The author conveys intricate details with such lucidity that for a reader with a vivid mind it''s like a color motion picture, even to almost being able to... See more
I''m really into history with quite a wide breadth. This is by far the most brilliantly written book I''ve ever read! The author conveys intricate details with such lucidity that for a reader with a vivid mind it''s like a color motion picture, even to almost being able to taste and smell the pleasant and offensive!

It is an epic history of President Polks ruthless plans to conquer Mexico, annihilate the Indians and consume everything from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Most of the action was centered in current day New Mexico and Arizona. Also, it talks to the later effects on the operations caused by the Civil War.

I highly recommend it, but it''s so intricate that the reader must be committed to really understanding and appreciating it!
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Nathan Schauer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Real West
Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2017
This is so much more than a history of Kit Carson. This isn''t a history of innocent Native Americans being victimized by evil white people. This is a complicated portrait of a man who both lived like a Native American, married and had children with a Native American and... See more
This is so much more than a history of Kit Carson. This isn''t a history of innocent Native Americans being victimized by evil white people. This is a complicated portrait of a man who both lived like a Native American, married and had children with a Native American and ruthlessly slaughtered Native Americans. This is the story of the real West, not a romanticized version of Indians or the Americans who settled the West.
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Tripower53
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent!
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2019
5 stars This book is a comprehensive and in-depth study of Christopher “Kit” Carson; his life and times. Mr. Sides has obviously done exhaustive research into not only Carson, but the settlement and growth of the West as well. His detailed book touches on several... See more
5 stars

This book is a comprehensive and in-depth study of Christopher “Kit” Carson; his life and times. Mr. Sides has obviously done exhaustive research into not only Carson, but the settlement and growth of the West as well. His detailed book touches on several well known subjects of the West from the ill-fated Donner party, the wars with Mexico to the Civil War and the eventual attempt to subdue and “conquer” the Native Americans. While the book mainly discusses the Navajo tribes, it also touches on the other Native tribes as well. Thus the reader learns a great deal about the Navajo and their legendary leader Narbona. He was a peace-loving chief who tried his best to get along with the soldiers. There were those in his tribe who violently disagreed with his policies, however. Chief among them was his own son-in-law. Narbona was widely respected though, not only among his own people, but among other tribes as well.

The book discusses the various tribes that inhabited the plains, their customs and beliefs. It was some of these beliefs that got the Americans (as they are termed in the book), in trouble with the Natives. While there was one or perhaps two well meaning Americans who dealt with the Natives, by and large they were hard men who did not even try to understand their way of life.

The reader learns about the travails and hardships of traveling across the West from Missouri and other places in the East all the way to California. Soldiers who knew nothing about the area set out to conquer the Mexican army and annex California and all lands east for the United States of America.

Kit Carson plays a part in many exchanges with the Natives. He was married to a young Native woman who gave him a daughter. Essentially a shy man who spoke little, he was very decisive in his actions. He was clever, could not stand bullying and had a fiery temper when provoked. He traveled with some of the big names in history such as Fremont, Bent, Kearney and so on, but made his home near Taos in what is now New Mexico. He had a lifelong embarrassment about being illiterate. He can to hate the way of life in the East. He preferred the outdoor life he had chosen for himself when he left Missouri as a young boy and became a trapper and mountain man. When trapping petered out, he became a scout and soldier with the US Army. Although he was a great friend to the Navajo, his eventual actions led to their downfall and devastation.

This is a very excellent book. I believe it is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the settling of the West and the tragedy of the Native Americans. It is reminiscent in some ways to Larry McMurtry''s writings, it is wholly non-fiction. Mr. Sides is not a dry author. He makes history interesting and engaging. The book doesn''t just quote facts and figures, but tells the reader about the people. We get to learn about who they were apart from their actions; their fears, their weaknesses and interests.
30 people found this helpful
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Fred ForbesTop Contributor: Photography
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Manifest Destiny, Indeed!
Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2015
Remember the old Tonight Show when Ed or Johnny would drop a factoid and the other would reply "I.did.not.know. that!"? Found myself doing that a lot as I read this even though I thought I knew a good bit about this historical period. Details related to the... See more
Remember the old Tonight Show when Ed or Johnny would drop a factoid and the other would reply "I.did.not.know. that!"? Found myself doing that a lot as I read this even though I thought I knew a good bit about this historical period. Details related to the Mexican War, Western settlement, Civil War, Indian Wars, and the Fremont expeditions I thought I had down but was continually impressed as the story emerged. Kit Carson I was only slightly familiar with but sure know him a lot better now. Fascinating material, told from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives and written in a novelistic style that held my attention. If my history books were this well done in my school days I think I would have been a heck of a lot better at staying awake. Great book by Sides, one of my favorites of the year.
84 people found this helpful
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John Locust
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is a great book about how the West opened and closed at ...
Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2018
This is a great book about how the West opened and closed at the same time. The reason we as a culture deify this time period, is because the most unlikely of souls, like Kit Carson, find the space and time to become great men and achieve great things, which could never... See more
This is a great book about how the West opened and closed at the same time. The reason we as a culture deify this time period, is because the most unlikely of souls, like Kit Carson, find the space and time to become great men and achieve great things, which could never happen in the strangulated East. Also, it is the only time in which men capable of recording events met with native peoples at their height just before the induced decline. The author does a great job of balancing perspective, which is tricky given the subject matter. This is an ugly time in history. I personally found the balanced perspective well handled.
30 people found this helpful
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RTM
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding Book
Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2019
I learned a lot reading this well-written, fascinating bio of Kit Carson. The author delves into the legend, and not only gives the reader a complete and detailed account of Carson''s amazing life, but also provides much info about the early (American) history of the... See more
I learned a lot reading this well-written, fascinating bio of Kit Carson. The author delves into the legend, and not only gives the reader a complete and detailed account of Carson''s amazing life, but also provides much info about the early (American) history of the Southwest. Carson seemed to be everywhere: traveling and exploring with Mountain Men, scouting for Fremont''s historic expeditions, serving as a Union officer in the Civil War, and participating in numerous encounters (some peaceful, some not) with various Indian tribes. Carson''s relationship and attitudes toward Indians was complex (his first wife was an Indian), and the author seems to give us an even-handed approach. The clash between American civilization moving Westward and the Indians'' efforts to maintain their societies forms the backdrop of this book. I have read several of Sides'' books, and this is by far his best, in terms of the depth and range of research, as well as the excellent writing.
14 people found this helpful
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holtySenior
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Couldn''t finish it ...
Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2020
Bought the book hoping to read about Kit Carson''s life. A number of chapters later it mentions him occasionally but all I was reading was about manifest destiney, how savage indians were etc. If it was slated as a history book it would have been good but I wasn''t into a... See more
Bought the book hoping to read about Kit Carson''s life. A number of chapters later it mentions him occasionally but all I was reading was about manifest destiney, how savage indians were etc. If it was slated as a history book it would have been good but I wasn''t into a history book. Therefore I didn''t finish reading it as I got bored. Maybe if I could have pushed myself to read the whole book it would have actually told about Kit Carson. Bottom line just not the type of book I was looking for .... other people I sure think it is a great book.
11 people found this helpful
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SETX
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Irratating & Plodding
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2020
The book is not enjoyable and doesnt provide what it promises. In the past 3-4 years Ive left only two books unfinished, and this is the second one. After reading about 25% I give up. I have an above average vocabulary and seldom have to use a dictionary.... See more
The book is not enjoyable and doesnt provide what it promises. In the past 3-4 years Ive left only two books unfinished, and this is the second one. After reading about 25% I give up.

I have an above average vocabulary and seldom have to use a dictionary. Thankfully Kindle''s is easily accessible.

If you read my reviews on other books you will find this is the most negative review I have ever made. The book is burdensome and tiresome. It doesnt hold my interest -but what really irritated me is Sides using ten dollar words that only serve to show off his vocabulary. Totally self indulgent.

To me this conveys arrogance and lack of consideration for the reader. Books should efficiently communicate to its targeted audience. What Sides does is akin to throwing Russian & Chinese words in every so often - disrupting the narrative.

I dont think Sides will ever see my money again.
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Top reviews from other countries

Howard C. England
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding history of the ''West''
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2019
This is a wonderful book. Not only have I learned more about Kit Carson but also how the west of the U S was opened up and the part played by so many pioneers.
This is a wonderful book. Not only have I learned more about Kit Carson but also how the west of the U S was opened up and the part played by so many pioneers.
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david wilson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book about The West
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2018
Book has Maps and trails, really good.
Book has Maps and trails, really good.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fabulous
Reviewed in Canada on September 28, 2020
Fabulous and fill-in-the-blanks education of the old west, the cavalry, Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, Fremont, the Indians, the Civil War, Kit Carson in complete and historical detail-the raids, murders, Navajo Long Walk, the Adobe Walls fight, civil war Texans vs the...See more
Fabulous and fill-in-the-blanks education of the old west, the cavalry, Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, Fremont, the Indians, the Civil War, Kit Carson in complete and historical detail-the raids, murders, Navajo Long Walk, the Adobe Walls fight, civil war Texans vs the American cavalry, ambushes, the Canyon de Chelly raids, all detailing the commanders and Kit Carson who went from a Scout/Trapper to Brig. Gen. Terrific.
Fabulous and fill-in-the-blanks education of the old west, the cavalry, Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, Fremont, the Indians, the Civil War, Kit Carson in complete and historical detail-the raids, murders, Navajo Long Walk, the Adobe Walls fight, civil war Texans vs the American cavalry, ambushes, the Canyon de Chelly raids, all detailing the commanders and Kit Carson who went from a Scout/Trapper to Brig. Gen. Terrific.
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Granite in a stream
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sweeping history of the 19th century American west
Reviewed in Canada on December 12, 2013
Hampton Sides has written a sprawling and engaging history of the exploration and conquest of the American west. Although Kit Carson is central throughout, the lives of other significant players during this time period are also explored to varying degrees. The book leaves a...See more
Hampton Sides has written a sprawling and engaging history of the exploration and conquest of the American west. Although Kit Carson is central throughout, the lives of other significant players during this time period are also explored to varying degrees. The book leaves a favourable impression of Kit Carson but doesn''t shy entirely from some of his less admirable traits and exploits. Sides also provides a balanced and fairly objective study of American-Indian relations during the time period, providing only limited subjective interpretation of the events and including exposure of the many atrocities committed by Americans against those whose land they aimed to conquer. Overall, this book provides lots of historical detail while maintaining a compelling narrative, being both informative and entertaining at once. Highly recommended to anyone interested in learning more about this period in American history.
Hampton Sides has written a sprawling and engaging history of the exploration and conquest of the American west. Although Kit Carson is central throughout, the lives of other significant players during this time period are also explored to varying degrees. The book leaves a favourable impression of Kit Carson but doesn''t shy entirely from some of his less admirable traits and exploits. Sides also provides a balanced and fairly objective study of American-Indian relations during the time period, providing only limited subjective interpretation of the events and including exposure of the many atrocities committed by Americans against those whose land they aimed to conquer.

Overall, this book provides lots of historical detail while maintaining a compelling narrative, being both informative and entertaining at once. Highly recommended to anyone interested in learning more about this period in American history.
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T. Bernard
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Super Buch
Reviewed in Germany on January 1, 2020
Hampton Sides versteht es, anhand der Beschreibung einzelner Personen und Lebensläufe die Geschichte greifbar zu machen Absoluter Kauftipp!
Hampton Sides versteht es, anhand der Beschreibung einzelner Personen und Lebensläufe die Geschichte greifbar zu machen
Absoluter Kauftipp!
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