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CHIEF JOSEPH COUNTRY: LAND OF THE NEZ PERCE

Gulick, Bill

6 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0870042750 / ISBN 13: 9780870042751
Published by The Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID, 1981
Condition: NF/NF; Hardback Hardcover
From Easton's Books, Inc. (Mount Vernon, WA, U.S.A.)

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4to 11" - 13" tall; 316 pages; Inscribed by author on title page. Near Fine condition with Near Fine . Bookseller Inventory # 29169

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Bibliographic Details

Title: CHIEF JOSEPH COUNTRY: LAND OF THE NEZ PERCE

Publisher: The Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID

Publication Date: 1981

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:NF/NF; Hardback

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title

Synopsis:

The relationship between Westering Americans and the Nez Perce Indians covers a time-span of one hundred years, from the meeting of the Lewis and Clark party with the Indians in 1805 to the death of Chief Joseph in 1904. It is epic drama, taking place on a vast stage during a critical period in the development of the United States.

Certainly no setting could be more spectacular than the rugged, beautiful homeland of this tribe. No story can equal in historical importance the long-standing friendship given by the Nez Perces to the white newcomers in their country. And no event is more poignant, bitter, and tragic than the Nez Perce War.

Before acquiring the horse around 1730, the Nez Perces occupied approximately 27,000 square miles of what is now north-central Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and southeastern Washington. After becoming a mounted people, they ranged over a much larger area, traveling east to the buffalo country claimed by Blackfeet, Crow, and Sioux, west to the great fishing and trading station on the lower Columbia, Celilo Falls. Uniquely situated as they were between the Plains and Coastal Indian cultures, they would play a key role in the struggle between Great Britain and the United States as to which nation would take title to the Pacific Northwest.

In Chief Joseph Country: Land of the Nez Perce, author Bill Gulick lets the participants in the developing drama tell the story in their own words by excerpting diaries, letters, and statements made in contemporary accounts. Beginning with the prehistory of the Nez Perces, he relates how, after being pedestrians for eight thousand years, acquisition of the horse drastically altered their way of life. Then, in rapid succession, came firearms, American explorers, British fur traders, the Manifest Destiny struggle, missionaries, Oregon Trail emigrants, settlers, gold miners, farmers, and finally war.

"If there is a bias in this book, it is that I have given more credence to statements made by Indians than to words written by white men," the author says. "Time and again in my research I have come across references to the importance the Indian placed on telling the plain, simple truth when relating any event in which he was involved. To the contrary, time and again I have found statements made by white leaders so contradictory and at variance with the truth that I began to question everything they wrote."

In selecting the many historical photographs and sketches used to illustrate the book, the author examined the holdings of some twenty institutions from coast to coast, some of which dated back to the 1850s. As he did in Snake River Country, Bill Gulick applies skills learned as a novelist and dramatist to the non-fiction field of history, using the twin tools of dramatic narrative and sound research to bring history alive to the layman reader. He writes:

"As in all epic dramas, forces beyond the understanding or control of the people involved were at work as the Nez Perces and the whites confronted one another, driving them toward a fate neither could forsee.

"Here, I have recorded that confrontation from the Indian point of view."

Review:

The weight of this superb book is three and three quarters pounds avoirdupois, but weighed in terms of its literary and historical excellence the total would have to be counted in tons. This reviewer would put it in megatons, no less. -- Dr. Chester C. Maxey, President Emeritus, Whitman College, December 1981

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