The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West

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Winner of the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History
Winner of the 2017 Caroline Bancroft History Prize
Shortlisted for the Military History Magazine Book of the Year Award

After the Civil War the Indian Wars would last more than three decades, permanently altering the physical and political landscape of America. Peter Cozzens gives us both sides in comprehensive and singularly intimate detail. He illuminates the intertribal strife over whether to fight or make peace; explores the dreary, squalid lives of frontier soldiers and the imperatives of the Indian warrior culture; and describes the ethical quandaries faced by generals who often sympathized with their native enemies. In dramatically relating bloody and tragic events as varied as Wounded Knee, the Nez Perce War, the Sierra Madre campaign, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, we encounter a pageant of fascinating characters, including Custer, Sherman, Grant, and a host of officers, soldiers, and Indian agents, as well as great native leaders such as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Red Cloud and the warriors they led.

The Earth Is Weeping is a sweeping, definitive history of the battles and negotiations that destroyed the Indian way of life even as they paved the way for the emergence of the United States we know today.

A Smithsonian Top History Book of 2016
A Times (UK) Book of the Year

Finalist for the Western Writers of America 2017 Spur Award in Best Western Historical NonfictionAn Amazon Best Book of November 2016: Why write a book about the Indian Wars when we already have Dee Brown’s seminal 1970 account Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee? It turns out there’s a very good reason. While Dee Brown’s book greatly informed our modern view of the conflict between Native Americans and the United States government, it didn’t get everything right. Put very simply, the Indians weren’t all good and the white people weren’t all bad. In fact, especially with the Native Americans, it was much more complicated than that. As an example, inter-tribe rivalries led to strategic decisions—like siding with the U.S. government—that made sense given the landscape of power. This is a story of survival, one that unfolds under the shadow of a predetermined tragedy. If you’re at all interested in the Indian Wars, this scrupulous and even-handed account is essential reading. --Chris Schluep, The Amazon Book Review

3 comments on “The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West”

  1. Even-Handed Overview Of A Harsh Time “The Earth Is Weeping” offers an almost painfully even-handed look at the conflicts between the United States and American Indian tribes after the Civil War. Of course, given the historiography of the past fifty years, an even-handed look necessarily inverts the traditional narrative. Here, Team Indian does good and bad, and Team White does good and bad, each according to its own internal dictates of morality and external dictates of practicality and need. The Sioux are expelled from their...

  2. How the West was Won For a panoramic view of the manner in which the United States government achieved its "Manifest Destiny" to stretch from "sea to shining sea", this book is a necessity. Peter Cozzens does not allow this generation's morality to bias his historian's perspective and gives a detailed factual account of the myriad battles between the U.S.Army and Native American tribes which opened the country to European pioneers. In the span of three decades (1862-91) the nomadic, hunting based...

  3. The Best Account of the Indian Wars Having read countless books about the plains Indian wars, having studied the the Apache and Southwest Indian wars, and having written a novel "Warrior At Peace" about the death of Geronimo, I can say without qualification that "The Earth Is Weeping" is the best and most captivating account of the Indian wars I have read. It is a wonderful read that makes one feel he is actually living through the times. Cozzens presents a wonderful narrative from the perspective of both sides...

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