Narbona could not have known that "The Army of the West", in the midst of the longest march in American military history, was merely the vanguard of an inexorable tide fueled by a self-righteous ideology now known as "Manifest Destiny". For 20 years the Navajo, elusive lords of a huge swath of mountainous desert and pasturelands, would ferociously resist the flood of soldiers and settlers who wished to change their ancient way of life - or destroy them.
©2006 Hampton Sides; (P)2006 Books on Tape
"An excellent addition to collections on western history." (Booklist)
"[Sides] eloquently paints the landscape and history of the 19th-century Southwest." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
This book is a good look into not only Kit Carson's life but many of the events that shaped our lives and the Native American's lives today. Very well narrated.
I was able to visit many of the places talked about in the book and the descriptions of the characters and the locations is extremely well crafted. I enjoyed the book as well as the audio presentation.
What an incredible story! I'm surprised that two of the best books I've read in the last year have been non fiction. This one and "Endurance", the story of Ernest Shackleton's expedition in the early 1900s. The detail alone in this book is just amazing. The amount of research needed to compile a story like this boggles my mind. I sincerely was not ready for this to end. Anyone with even a modicum of interest in American history should love this book. Not one dull passage. Narration was excellent as well.
Totally explained my New Mexico heritage and why we are the way we are in the state. Loved every single chapter.
Husband for 40 years, retired CHP sergeant, photographer, father of 2, grandfather of 3. Love audiobooks. My interests are dominated, but not exclusively historical.
When I purchased this book I was under the impression that it was a basic history of the Navajo people. While listening to the first chapter I was concerned about the reader's voice as it seemed to be somewhat monotone. But I did not put the book down. I am extremely pleased with myself that I didn't. To me this was an epic story not solely about the history of the Navajo, but the many other Native American peoples of the southwest. Tightly weaved into the story was the life history of Kit Carson with John C Fremont, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Braxton Bragg, Generals Grant and Sherman and many others in their roles. The Civil War as fought in New Mexico, the Sand Creek Massacre and the slaughter of pioneer families by the Mormons of Utah. The beauty of the Southwest or to some its ugliness when compared to the green, fetal lands to the east. I ramble on, but this is a must listen for anyone interested in the history of the American Southwest. As the reader progressed the reader's voice seemed to be exactly what was needed to tell this story.
Well written book, expertly narrated. It covers an interesting portion of frontier and western American history in the 19th century.
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