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Publisher's Summary

The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than 20 years, and the first to make clear that his misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was an equal partner in the last great pan-Indian alliance against the United States.

Until the Americans killed Tecumseh in 1813, he and his brother Tenskwatawa were the co-architects of the broadest pan-Indian confederation in United States history. In previous accounts of Tecumseh's life, Tenskwatawa has been dismissed as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award-winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was a brilliant diplomat and war leader - admired by the same white Americans he opposed - it was Tenskwatawa, called the "Shawnee Prophet", who created a vital doctrine of religious and cultural revitalization that unified the disparate tribes of the Old Northwest. Detailed research of Native American society and customs provides a window into a world often erased from history books and reveals how both men came to power in different but no less important ways.

Cozzens brings us to the forefront of the chaos and violence that characterized the young American Republic, when settlers spilled across the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the British in the War of Independence, disregarding their rightful Indian owners. Tecumseh and the Prophet presents the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat - the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.

©2020 Peter Cozzens (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"An enthralling, deeply researched dual biography of Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his younger brother...Cozzens’s cinematic narrative is steeped in Native American culture and laced with vivid battle scenes and character sketches. American history buffs will gain a new appreciation for what these resistance leaders accomplished."⁠ (Publishers Weekly)

"In 1768, the year of Tecumseh’s birth, 60,000 Native Americans in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley stood against a white colonial population of two million. As settlers crested the Appalachians, this imbalance only got worse. Against this epic backdrop, Peter Cozzens weaves his marvelous tale of the two Shawnee brothers who stood against the storm. Tecumseh and the Prophet tells a story of nation-defining events and larger-than-life leaders, and Cozzens' nuanced portrait stands as one of the best pieces of Native American history I have read.” ⁠(S. C. Gwynne, author of New York Times best sellers Empire of the Summer Moon, and Rebel Yell

"Comprehensive...Blending historical fact with solid storytelling, Cozzens delivers a nuanced study of the great warrior and his times."⁠ (Kirkus

What listeners say about Tecumseh and the Prophet

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Excellent. Good companion to other Tecumseh bios

Peter Cozzens brings new depth to the life of Tecumseh and his brother with this work. He points out correctly that other Tecumseh biographies tend to focus mainly on the famous chief while relegating his brother to a minor role. Having recently read Tecumseh: A life by John Sugden, I came away with the sense that the prophet became irrelevant before the War of 1812. This book shows how that wasn’t the case, and though it’s duel focus on both brothers, manages to tell a more complete story of their pan-Indian movement that started as religious, then evolved to include political and military aims. For me it was interesting to learn more about the prophet after the Battle of Tippecanoe: his continued role in the Indian confederacy, and his slow decent into obscurity after his brother’s death. Some finer points about Tecumseh are explored in more detail as well: in particular his belief in his brother’s connection to the great spirit and their relationship over the course of their movement.

I definitely recommend Tecumseh and the Prophet to anyone interested in this period and these brothers. It’s an easy listen with only a few native names mispronounced, and it has only deepened my knowledge of my favorite period in American history.

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Terrible all the way around

One hour into the book, and the monotone narrator decides to do a racist broken English interpretation of Indigenous American speech, and I was done.
The story had no flow, and sounded like a WHITE Man's view of native life. REALLY! You had to explain a breech cloth.

1 person found this helpful