Following the Indian Wars: The Story of the Newspaper Correspondents Among the Indian Campaigners

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9780806125084: Following the Indian Wars: The Story of the Newspaper Correspondents Among the Indian Campaigners

Historians and military men have had their say about the Indian wars, which lasted from 1866 to 1891. But the newspaper correspondents who took to the field with troops now get their innings if not the last word. And what they have to say, as revealed by Oliver Knight, himself a former newspaperman, sheds new and important light on twenty-five years of conflict extending over half a continent.

Using a huge canvas, the author deploys the historical facts about more than one thousand fights between troops and Indians, the immediate, first-hand impressions of correspondents who participated in the battles and skirmishes, and his own interpretations from the combined evidence. It is as if the reader himself had gone along on these expeditions, to see what was happening, to assess the relative skill of commanders and their troops, and to share both the dangers and the relaxations of military life on the vast frontier beyond the Mississippi.

The correspondents were new men, not the old Civil War hands, following troops that, in the years to come, were to be called Old Army.” Frank, uninhibited, and, above all, daring, they knew what the fighting was about, for they were in it, members of an unsupported military element far advanced into hostile territory.

Their adventures are related in the twelve major campaigns of the period, ranging from the Southern Plains to the Sioux country, and from Colorado to California, and involving tribes as various as the Kiowas, Comanches, Sioux, Modocs, Utes, Cheyennes (both Northern and Southern), Apaches, Bannocks, and Nez Percés.

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About the Author:

Oliver Knight was for several years a newspaperman in Fort Worth, Texas, before an earlier commitment to history finally caught up with him. In 1951 he enrolled as a freshman in the University of Oklahoma, and two years later completed the B.A. degree with distinction. In 1953 he also published a full-statured book, Fort Worth: Outpost on the Trinity (University of Oklahoma Press), one year prior to obtaining an M.A. in history. He has since received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin and is now assistant professor of journalism in Indiana University.

Review:

“Following the Indian Wars is a good final chapter to the history of warfare between the Indians and the whites. It is not a romantic version of the struggle for the Great Plains. It is a straight account of the little known men who reported the progress of a hard and bitter war, which won the West but only at the expense of many lives and the destruction of the Indian way of life.”—San Francisco Examiner

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