This engaging tale starts out with an elderly Lakota grandfather telling his children and grandson about the battle known as Fetterman's Massacre. That retelling sets the tone for this oral history-like story of the Lakota and their fears and reactions to the Long Knife forts along The Bozeman Trail in the mid 1860's. The lead up to the battle is told from the Lakota point of view and mainly centers on the warrior Cloud and his wife, Sweet Water Woman, though the author does a thorough job in his description of life in a Lakota village; and their fears and mistrust of the encroaching whites The author also lays out the misconceptions prevalent among many whites concerning the native tribes, e.g. the military's disdain of the Indian's fighting ability. I was entertained and educated by this book and am looking forward to the second volume and it's tale of the Greasy Grass fight; also known as The Little Bighorn. 5 stars and a Hoover Book Review recommendation.
It is a great pleasure to find a novel based upon the lives of the indigenous peoples of North America. This tale, centered on the war of the book's title "Hundred in the Hand" (aka The Fetterman Massacre of 1866)told from the Lakota Sioux point of view, is a dramatic departure from the usual interpretation of "American" history as though it were at heart European. Of particular delight in this novel is that author Joseph M. Marshall III (himself a Lakota Sioux) includes Lakota culture and folkways, both spiritual and social as well as dozens of everyday examples of military, hunting and tribal, interpersonal relationships.
It is in the development of characters that author Marshall really shines. His characters, both white and red, are realistic adults with real thoughts and emotions, not cardboard silhouettes moved about the stage as "props" to make a point. His people fall in love, get hurt in battle, and sometimes die on both sides of the field. That realistic presentation lets the reader see "conflict" as being the shock of two human forces, not just inevitable differences.
Although I found the book provocative and educational (I "learned" more from this novel than most non-fiction), I found that a problem lay with the author's unvarying simple sentence delivery -- I'd like to have seen the prose more "writerly", e.g., a variety of sentence strucures to relieve the simple subject-verb-object construction, more metaphor and simile to creatively "dress up" the language.
Hundred in the Hand is, of course, redeemed by our hunger for an alternative to the white man's version of Early American history and Joseph Marshall's obviously deep knowledge of the subject.
Since I was in Wyoming at the site of the battle, I got this book to read about it. It's a good book, but still contains some factual errors that have been passed down as myth over the years. For an accurate understanding of what most likely really happened, you should read "Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed: The Struggle for the Powder River Country in 1866 and the Making of the Fetterman Myth" by John H. Monnett. Also available on Amazon.
I'm not even done reading this wonderful novel about the West, told from the Native viewpoint and already I give it five stars. As a fan on westerns(preferably the Fur Trade era kind) in which American Indians are portrayed fairly I applaud Mr. Marshall. Like I said I'm not done reading it yet, but I think this novel should be turned into film as long as Mr. Marshall has creative control in it. I may not be American Indian, but I have great respect for them and to read a Western novel, written by an American Indian who tells it from the American Indian point of view, without being biased, to me is a breath of fresh air. Thank you Mr. Marshall and God Bless you!!
The Audio CD of this novel literally grabbed me out of my world and put me on the plains of Lakota lands, riding alongside Cloud, Crazy Horse, Grey Bull and Rabbit. The author weaved the story through the lives of the Lakota as they struggled and fought to protect their land from encroachment. Marshall brought new insight into what happened on that frigid battlefield by offering the Lakota perspective and, in turn, provided balance to a lop-sided legend.
Even though it was a novel, it tells the stories of the Plains Indians wars through the eyes of the Lakota nation. It gives the reader the feelings and thoughts of the natives struggling just to keep their way of life.
It is nice to read something that has the perspective of a different viewpoint in American history. The perspective of a people who have been able to preserve their own history of America. The flip side of the coin - if you will.
I want to read every book this man has written. I love the style of writing. I get caught up in the characters. It describes the events from a Native point of view. A completely different perspective than most historical books written.