Interesting, detailed and fascinating. I am in fond of history, but not familiar with the American one (I’m Italian, I live in Rome): finally I start to understand what all those movies I’ve seen since childhood were about.
The narrator, Don Leslie, is so good. He made me breathe the now gone atmosphere of those times. The grass, the dust, the misery, the simplicity and toughness of their wild livings. The brightness of a new future waiting ahead. This is perhaps the first book I’m so glad not to have red, but listened to.
I purchased this audio version of "Blood and Thunder" on the basis of some very favorable reviews that the book received in the press. Alas, Hampton Sides' survey of the history of the American Southwest during the middle decades of the 19th century does not live up to the hype. He is at his best describing the landscape of the region, but his narration of events and the personalities that drove them lacks historical rigor. After a while, one becomes a bit tired of statements about what a person "must have" thought, "probably" felt, or other such conjectures. Sides is not content to let events speak for themselves. He has to ramble on about the unknowable. This is fine for a novelist, and may be appropriate for a historian if diaries and other first-hand accounts give sufficient sense of what cannot be observed. But Sides uses it to excess. Instead of adding to the story, it merely inflates a remarkably sparse book. It is indicative of Sides' unwillingness to explore what can be documented--the culture of white America suring the period in question, the politics and tactics of the US army, background on whites' earlier interaction with native Americans, the influence of Catholicism on the Southwestern tribes, and so on. He barely touches on these crucial questions. It's sad, because Sides is an excellent stylist, but in this case he lacks substance to back it up.
The reader (Don Leslie) is adequate, though certainly not among the best I have heard. He has a deep voice, and occasionally he seems to lumber through the story. Still, he does the material justice.
This is the most important presentation of the early wild West I have ever seen. It is long, the author is no Will Durant and the work includes more sentimentaliity then I like. However, it is one the most educational pieces I am aware of. I think it should be considered as a standard for Junior High School and is tolerable enough for the advanced reader as Well. I am accustomed to more lofty tombs such as Durants multi-epocal Story of Civilization of (From Caesar to Christ read by Grover Gardner is a master piece).
Further, I confess a strong aversion to predatory horse archer cultures to beging with, and especially those such as the Navaho who made perfectly good livings with mixed agricultural pastoral ecomomies. They had a near idylic life to begin with and their raides for cattle, sheep and slaves were conducted for sport and self agrandizement. They were warned to cut out a couple of times but customs are customs. When they would not stop it ended up in catastrophy. After which they were eventally returned to their ancestral lands anyway. A reservation for less then 15,000 people the size of Ohio.
This book has two other recomendations going for it. A good little summary of the original military acquisition of New Mexico and California and a fine rendition on the life of Kit Carson. I knew that Carson was famous but entirely ignorant of why he actually deserved it. Famous is apparently a very inadequate word.
LOVE KEN FOLLET BOOKS..HATE SCIENCE FICTION..ENJOY LISTENING WHILE I DRIVE LONG OR SHORT DISTANCES..THANKS AUDIBLE!!
It was almost like hearing about the Jewish Holocaust for the first time. Could OUR U.S. Government do this to a race of people?. Yes, they could and they DID !
There were too many faucets of good, bad and evil to compare this book to others. At first I loved KIt Carson , then I learned all he did and hated him!
Very well narrated...
Americas's Holocaust...the true story
Hampton Sides really did his homework on this piece of American history. The success is in the details!!
The well crafted and well researched writing
To pick just one or two is like asking which is your favorite child .This book is amazing from start to finish
Kit Carson is a standout for sure
What they didnt teach you about history
Loved this book , It is right up there with many other great views on early american history Honest brutal astonishing much like the great works of Allan W.Eckert .The book is fair to all History is now being written with a new prism a new perspective. As I am sure a cycle of revisionism occurs with some regularity. This book contains limited perspectives on what is or was pollitically correct and I am thankful for the great effort at objectivity. it is getting diffacult to find .Writers worry more about offending this constituency or that and letting that dictate a political statement .just offer the facts as the research provides and avoid the judgements by the standards some feel compelled to add .This auther has done a fine job of that the research and efforts to tell the story objectivly often in the participants is laudable. A great book filled with loads of important details carefully crafted.
Definitely top of my list.
Human, balanced, and fair.
His voice fit the subject matter.
Carson's accidental quest to settle the west.
probably not - the first time was good enough
The Navajo return to the 4-corners area.
A well-written and engrossing history of Kit Carson and the American West. Don Leslie's folksy but crisp and precise narration is the perfect companion.
The book was just ok for me. It's a history book about the Navahos and Kit Carson. I'm a history buff, but this book could have cut in half. I didn't know it was a history book, and wouldn't have spent a credit if I had known.