: In the shadow of wounded knee (9780802715142) : Roger Di Silvestro, Roger L. Di Silvestro : Books
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In The Shadow Of Wounded Knee

by Roger Di Silvestro, Roger L. Di Silvestro
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publishing date: 06/02/2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780802715142
  • ISBN: 0802715141


At the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation on January 7, 1891, Lieutenant Edward Casey (the last white soldier to die in the Indian Wars) was assassinated by Lakota warrior Plenty Horses. Four days later peaceful Lakota hunters were ambushed by rancher Pete Culbertson and his brothers. According to frontier justice of the day, Plenty Horses would have been summarily hanged and the Culbertsons never brought to trial, but public opinion, inflamed by the massacre at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, led to Plenty Horses and the Culbertsons being tried in civilian courts.
In telling the dramatic story of these events and their impact across the nation, In the Shadow of Wounded Knee shows America at the instant it was shifting from a wild frontier country into a modern nation and how the cost of building the country was paid not just in human lives but with the sacrifice of human hopes and dreams and the future of entire native cultures.

Roger L. Di Silvestro is a senior editor at National Wildlife magazine and the author of several nature books, including The Endangered Kingdom and Reclaiming the Last Wild Places. As a student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Di Silvestro worked as a tutor with the Omaha and Winnebago, and participated in fundraising activities for local Indian causes. He lives in Virginia outside of Washington, D.C.

The calamity at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on December 29, 1890, is generally considered the closing salvo in America's Indian wars. But, as Roger Di Silvestro reveals in startling detail, the fight did not end at Wounded Knee. Two tragic events in early January 1891, overlooked by history, reignited passions on both sides of the conflict and forever colored its legacy.

In the Shadow of Wounded Knee chronicles for the first time the assassination of Lieutenant Edward Casey (the last white soldier to die in the Indian wars) by the young Lakota warrior Plenty Horses, and his brothers, in what the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader called "one of the most cold-blooded and unjustifiable murders ever committed on the frontier." For politicians, soldiers, and citizens alike horrified by the slaughter at Wounded Knee, these two crimes, so plain in their guilt, became a moral and legal quagmire in court. According to frontier justice of the day, Plenty Horses would have been summarily hanged and the Culbertsons never brought to trail. Yet prosecutors of Plenty Horses faced a quandary at his trial: With public opinion inflamed, if the young warrior were convicted, then the Army itself would need to be held accountable for the killings at Wounded Knee.

The trial of Plenty Horses riveted the nation through front-page newspaper accounts across the country. Intelligent and composed throughout, Plenty Horses was a compelling character, far from the savage stereotype so widely applied to the native tribes. Forced as a youth onto reservations, he had been taken from his family to be educated back east, one of a number of Indian youths this forcible indoctrinated into American culture. These circumstances raised the soul-searching question of whether Casey's murder had been wanton or, in fact, a product of social oppression.

In the Shadow of Wounded Knee is an addition to the literature on not only the Indian wars, but the fate of Native American peoples. For as Roger Di Silvestro eloquently reveals, the outcome of Plenty Horses' trial had a dark side. Neither the Culbertsons nor the Army were held accountable, and, on a larger scale, the deeper questions emanating from Wounded Knee have never been answered.
"Di Silvestro grabs hold of his story. It is, in a word, haunting."—Los Angeles Times
"This is a carefully researched book about an important trial in danger of being forgotten. It also puts the war on the northern plains in perspective."—Oklahoma Transcript
"In the Shadow of Wounded Knee tells a little of who we were as a nation, and how that nation dealt with the civic virtue of justice, not to mention truth . . . Di Silvestro has done a remarkable job."The Daily (Decatur)
"If you don't have any other book on Native America on your bookshelf, get this book. It's full of truth. It's going to tell you a lot of things that you don't know, a lot of things that have been kept hidden from all you since 1890, since the massacre at Wounded Knee."—Jay Winter Night Wolf, The Night Wolf Show
"Contrary to popular belief, the slaughter of the Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee in 1890 was not the final 'battle' of the Plains Indian war. Small-scale skirmishes continued for several months afterward, the most notorious in that string of events being the killing of Lieutenant Edward Casey by a Lakota warrior, Plenty Horses, and a killing of several Lakota by a rancher, Pete Culbertson. DiSilvestro . . . recounts the events that led to those fatal confrontations as well as the controversial legal aftermath, with an engrossing mixture of compassion and moral outrage. He begins with a survey of the decades-long conflict between the Plains tribes and advancing American settlers . . . DiSilvestro is particularly adept in his descriptions of the fissures within the various Lakota bands that were exacerbated by the strains of constant white encroachment on their lands. DiSilvestro also provides interesting biographical sketches of Casey and Plenty Horses, which elevates their eventual confrontation to the level of inevitable tragedy."—Booklist
"The denouement of the Plains Indian Wars is the background for this history of the separate 1891 court cases in South Dakota involving Plenty Horses and the Culbertson brothers. Plenty Horses was a Brul Sioux who had been educated at the Indian school at Carlisle, PA, and stood accused of murdering Lt. Edward Casey of the U.S. Army. The Culbertson brothers were cowboy ranchers accused of murdering Lakota Sioux. These alleged murders had occurred in the aftermath of the assassination of Sioux Chief Sitting Bull and the subsequent massacre of Sioux peoples at Wounded Knee by the U.S. Army in December 1890. Di Silvestro, best known for his wildlife and conservation writings, traces the complex series of events that led to the U.S. Army testifying in civil court in defense of Plenty Horses' actions. This examination of the aftermath of the Wounded Knee crisis as it played out in legal proceedings and in the popular press is enlightening about how American society developed its views of the late Plains Indian Wars. Recommended for public and academic libraries with interests in Native American, civil rights, and military history."—Library Journal
"Readers new to the subject will find his clear explanation helpful, the violent encounters dramatic and the trials absorbing."—Publishers Weekly

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  • Good follow-up book
    From Amazon

    For those who are interested in the whole Wounded Knee tragedy, this is an excellent addition to your library. I purchased it for my Dad and he started reading it immediately.

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