9780805041385

Tecumseh: A Life

Sugden, John

ISBN 10: 0805041389 / 0-8050-4138-9
ISBN 13: 9780805041385
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
If Sitting Bull is the most famous Indian, Tecumseh is the most revered. Although Tecumseh literature exceeds that devoted to any other Native American, this is the first reliable biography--thirty years in the making--of the shadowy figure who created a loose confederacy of diverse Indian tribes that exted from the Ohio territory northeast to New York, south into the Florida peninsula, westward to Nebraska, and north into Canada.

A warrior as well as a diplomat, the great Shawnee chief was a man of passionate ambitions. Spurred by commitment and served by a formidable battery of personal qualities that made him the principal organizer and the driving force of confederacy, Tecumseh kept the embers of resistence alive against a federal government that talked cooperation but practiced genocide following the Revolutionary War.

Tecumseh does not stand for one tribe or nation, but for all Native Americans. Despite his failed attempt at solidarity, he remains the ultimate symbol of eavor and courage, unity and fraternity.

Review:
Of Indian chief Tecumseh, U.S. president William Henry Harrison said, "If it were not for the vicinity of the United States, he would, perhaps, be the founder of an empire that would rival in glory that of Mexico or Peru." As it was, however, he was born just more than a decade shy of the discovery of the New World, and came of age in an era of violence and cultural decay in which Indian tribes across the continent expended all their energy to repulse the Europeans who were commandeering their land. By the end of the century, Tecumseh, a member of the Shawnee tribe, was an accomplished warrior; after losing his father and two older brothers to battle, he assumed the role of war chief. There seemed to be only two courses of action that might preserve his tribe: assimilation or war. After watching other tribes fail in their bids to mimic European society, the charismatic Tecumseh, aided by his brother (known as "the Prophet"), attempted a short-lived but inspired strategy of organizing a pan-Indian alliance to put down the European encroachers. It was while fighting alongside the British in the War of 1812 that Tecumseh was killed. His body was never found. Richard Johnson, the man who claimed to have taken the great chief down, went on to become Martin Van Buren's vice president.

With Tecumseh, biographer John Sugden expands the scope of his earlier book Tecumseh's Last Stand, which focused exclusively on the chief's final, fatal battle. In both books Sugden displays intimate knowledge of his subject; Tecumseh, however, takes a much more in-depth look at this complex man, his life, and the times that shaped him, and thus should appeal to American-history buffs as well as anyone interested in a carefully crafted biography of a fascinating character.

Review

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