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Oh What a Slaughter: Massacres in the American West: 1846--1890 MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (1 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400151953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400151950
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,315,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Recounts massacres that took place in America throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, describing violent clashes involving Native Americans, pioneer settlers, and others. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 April 2011
Format: Audio CD
"Oh What A Slaughter" by the Western novelist and historian, Larry McMurtry, provides in depth studies of several of the Old West's most renowned slaughters, including Sacramento River, Mountain Meadows, Sand Creek, Marias River, Camp Grant and Wounded Knee, along with mentions of the Fetterman Massacre and the Little Big Horn. Most of these involved the massacre of Indians by whites although some were white on white violence. McMurtry introduces the reader not only to the horror of the slaughter but also to what it says about the killers and the killed and the clash of cultures that brought these tales into our Western lore.

While I have long had an interest in the Old West but was unfamiliar with these specific massacres, other than Fetterman and Little Big Horn. The subject matter of this book would be of interest to a reader with a general interest in the clash of cultures during westward expansion and the general attitudes of settlers toward the Indians. It also provides a good introduction to one seeking a familiarity with the specific massacres. The writing is always gripping and never boring. "Oh What A Slaughter" makes me want to know more about these incidents and has rekindled my interest in the West. I am glad that I read it and am sure that you will be also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zulu Warrior on 16 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Would have liked to have had more detail with each individual case, it was readable and filled with facts but does read like someone has just pinched bits from other books and written one of their own.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ivor Gardiner on 15 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fan of McMurtry's novels set in the old West, particularly those in the Lonesome Dove series. On this basis, and on my interest in this period of history, I bought this book. I did so with some initial trepidation due to what seemed a steep cost for a book on which Amazon in the UK gave no information, but my historical interest overcame this. And what a disappointing product when it arrived! At about 160 pages but with numerous (irrelevant) photographs of -too frequently - minor players and even an old street photograph (but not a single map)taking up much of this; along with page long page breaks and half page headings for new chapters; I felt decidedly short changed. This was first impressions; it got worse on reading. The narrative was incoherent and somewhat inconsistent, and tended to jump about in places. The history was, at best, scant. I would expect more in some school history texts. McMurtry makes occasional reference to other books which provide more detail on his glossed over incidents. Save yourself the time and money - go straight to the bibliography and order from there instead; or even straight to Wikipedia. I remain a fan of his fiction and the great characters he has developed, but historical narrative is not his strength (on the basis of this poor offering).
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Amazon.com: 50 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Nice introduction to unknown western massacres. 28 Nov. 2005
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Larry McMurty in his latest book, retell the stories of several unknown "massacre" incidents that took place in the Americna West during the years of 1846 to 1890. The six massacres were Sacramento River in 1846 where whites wiped out whole host of California Indians, Camp Grant where hundreds of Apache Indians were wiped out in 1871, Marias River in 1871 where whole lot of Blackfeet Indians were wiped out, Sand Creek in 1864 where hundreds of Cheyenne Indians were killed off and finally Mountain Meadow where 130 whites were wiped out by other whites. There is also a coverage on Wounded Knee as well.

The author avoided the more popular and well known massacres such as Custer's Last Stand, Fetterman Massacre or the Alamo. This is a short book. I think the author intent was give an introductionary look at some these incidents and hoping that the readers will move on into greater study. Some of the massacres he wrote about, like the ones at Camp Grant, Sacramento and Marias Rivers remain relatively unknown even to this day. Their description are short. The two more well known one, Sand Creek and Wounded Knee are given bit more closer study but the book seem to be dominated by the author's coverage of Mountain Meadow Massacre where white Mormons cold-heartedly murdered 130 or so white Arkansans and looted their wagon train. This seem to interest the author the most, probably because in all other massacres, there was a common racial motivation between whites and Indians. But in Mountain Meadow, there were theology, greed, revenge and murder in the hearts of the Mormons who took part of the massacre. Author's coverage into this incident will probably incite many of the readers who are not familiar with Mountain Meadow to read deeper in other books. (After all, it took Timothy McVeigh to finally surpassed the death toll of Mountain Meadow with his bombing of the Federal Building at Oklahoma City as the worst American terrorist act in our nation's history.)

Overall, I thought the book was pretty well written, an introduction to some of these subject matters and a good starting point for future studies. The book isn't without some errors, one of them which states that Parley Pratt, a popular Mormon missionary who was murdered in Arkansas around that time period, an incident that may have led to the hard feeling against the people of that state among the Mormons of Utah, was described by the author as a "prophet" couple of times. LDS only have one prophet and he's the leader of their church. In that time period, that prophet would have been Bingham Young. This and several other minor errors marks this book. But overall, its an interesting, somewhat educational reading material that should be regarded as a quick read.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A slight history of some massacres in the American West. 31 Jan. 2006
By Kevin M Quigg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A previous reviewer stated this correctly--this is a slight history. There is not much meat in this book, although it describes the massacres as meat shops. This is sad because the author is accomplished and this is a subject that many Americans are not familiar with. The author could have made this a better book but maybe he didn't think it was worth the time or money.

The subject of the book are six massacres in the American West. Five of these massacres had Indians as the victims and one was against a wagon train of immigrants. Who was responsible--the American settlers of the West and the American government. The author gives a very BRIEF history of each incident, and then tells us how horrible it was. I believe these were horrible events and that is why they need a more thorough research than what the author provided. That is where there needs to be a more telling story line.

This could have been a great book, but as such it is just a mere summary of some very troubled periods in the history of the American West.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Brevity not always the soul of wit. 22 April 2006
By Monty Rainey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Prolific fiction novelist Larry McMurtry takes a break from his usual venue with a look into some of the American West's' more infamous massacres with OH WHAT A SLAUGHTER: MASSACRES IN THE AMERICAN WEST 1846 - 1890. This is a slight work at under 200 pages, but is good, easy reading that might serve to promote further examination by the reader on the subject matter covered. And of course, as always, McMurtry's writing style is its usual prize winning form.

McMurtry begins by putting the legendary massacres of the old west into perspective by first defining what might constitute a massacre. Here, he has focused only upon massacres with over 100 victims. All totaled, massacres of this caliber in the American West equal far less than the number of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When considering the 2002 vicious mutilation of over 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda, it makes the killing fields of North America look like a playground. These facts alone, at so early an entry in the book, will undoubtedly turn away revisionists from giving credibility to the work, but the facts do indeed, speak for themselves.

McMurtry lends a degree of balance to his work by presenting the subject matter (massacres) for what they are and avoids, as some reviewers have indicated, making it a "white man - bad, red man - good" politically correct portrayal. His first presentation is that of the Mountain Meadow massacre, in which, Mormons and Paiute Indians slaughtered somewhere around 125 - 140 whites of the Francher party whose families were in covered wagons traveling through southern Utah.

Each of the other massacres involve white on red atrocities. Some might ask why McMurtry did not include the annihilation of Custer and the 7th at Little Big Horn. In the opening chapter, McMurtry differentiates this as this was face to face battle between opposing armies, not the attack of innocents such as at Sand Creek.

Sand Creek is the next entry in the book, and like all of the massacres studied, they are lacking depth. This is a most enjoyable read, but throughout, it seems to have been a rushed piece of work. McMurtry writes so well, its impossible not to like reading his work, but these essays are more about the consequences and debates centered around the events than they are about the events themselves. I don't necessarily find fault in that, because by setting the readers curiosity in motion, the reader is spurred towards further investigation of the subject matter. And for that, McMurtry has supplied an ample bibliography on each of the events studied.

This is a very enjoyable book. Shakespeare said, "brevity is the soul of wit", but in this case, brevity hurt the final outcome. I would have certainly rated this book as a must read had it only contained more critical detail.

Monty Rainey

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A short but worthy addition 15 Jun. 2006
By Douglas S. Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Adopting a conversational tone McMurtry briefly (161 pages) explores six 'big massacres' of the Old West: Sacramento River, Mountain Meadows, Sand Creek, Marias River, Camp Grant, and Wounded Knee. He also briefly considers the Fetterman and Custer defeats.

McMurtry's treatment is even-handed. That even-handedness allows his observation of the essential fairness of General Crook, which the Indian leaders acknowledged, as demonstrated by his observation that the Sioux should take the money for the Black Hills because the whites were surely going to take them. Evenhandedness also required inclusion of the observation by Red Cloud that the whites had made many promises but only kept one: "They said they would take our land and they took it."

He develops the idea that the ever present 'apprehension' of violence was felt both by whites and Indians and that the apprehension all too often led to the actuality. Moreover, in general white frontiersmen wanted the Indians' land and were going to have it. Whites had the numbers and the technology. In all of the massacres with the exception of Wounded Knee the whites set out with the purpose of killing all the Indians they could lay hands on. As McMurtry relates civilized society often quickly disowned these deeds as 'simple murder'.

Mountain Meadows stands out an as exception in that Mormons led some Paiutes to attack and virtually wipe out a white wagon train.

The stories of these massacres are told in more detail elsewhere, but McMurtry's book is an interesting addition to the Western library that considers all of them within the confines of one short work.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Worse Than Listening To Ill Informed High School Teacher 8 Jun. 2010
By Stephen V. Caputo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This feels like a slightly polished transcript of a one-sided conversation McMurtry could have had with an adoring fan. He makes his main point in the first few pages and seems to lose interest and momentum from there. His coverage of the actual massacres is incredibly superficial. It lacks basic details that are available in any number of books. To top it all off, while he seems too busy to research basic facts, he does manage to work George Bush and Guantanamo Bay into the book at least three times which makes it feel even less focused and worth while. One of the most vacuous books I've ever come across.
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