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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2005
I love how Dee Brown has chosen a mounted Native American warrior as his cover picture, as this drew my attention to his book. I feel it presents the right image, that of a strong, proud and noble warrior belonging to such a tribe. I liked the inclusion of a map at the beginning of the book, charting the significant battles, rivers, territories and settlements of the time. The inclusion of photographs was inspiring, and I found that this helped me to envisage each chapter whilst allowing me to study in particular some of the more famous Native American chiefs I have heard or read about. Hundreds of quotes appear at the beginning and throughout each chapter from both Native Americans and white Americans. This, I believe, is an essential part of any non-fiction novel, as many books are naturally written through the eyes of their author or historians of another background, leaving a biased view. This ensures that effectively, the Native Americans have told much of their own story, which is vital. Furthermore, with most views of the USA having come and coming from white Americans alone, it is a refreshing change and a well deserved chance for old voices to be heard. The song at the end of each chapter is another thoughtful way of tapping into Native American culture. There are war songs and tribal dances, and if you're musical you can play them, as the notes are all there!! There is also a complex bibliography for those who want more detailed information.
Dee Brown has put a great deal of work into this book and I hope he is extremely proud of it. I will be buying it and I shall read it again. There is such an abundance of information and numerous people are mentioned (he gives so many the centre stage, I admire that) that I know I will have missed something, as one can when one reads a piece of literature only once.
This book is a breakthrough and would be an essential part of any historical research.
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108 of 111 people found the following review helpful
I read this book over ten years ago and have read it a number of times since, and it just doesn't seem to lose any of its impact.

"Bury My Heart" is the harrowing tale of the systematic conning, concentrating and extermination of the Native Americans of the United States between the 1830s and 1870s.

Told chronologically, it relates tribe-by-tribe the incredible levels of deep-seated racism and greed displayed by white prospectors, settlers, soldiers and politicians as they carved up the vast land of North America into its component states and territories in their boardrooms and forts, with the Native Americans trampled underfoot along the way.

Not legally recognised as "people" (with the sole exception of Standing Bear, who managed to become a person only through legal action), the indiginous occupants of North America were confronted by soldiers tribe by tribe, and told to move out of the place they lived, and onto a reservation - or be killed. The Native Americans who agreed ended up on reservation land which was no use to the whites - that it, no use for hunting, farming, or living. The rations fed to them were not fit for human consumption, and on some reservations, most simply died from disease or starvation. Those who tried to complain, resist, or leave were imprisoned or killed. For the Native Americans that fought, they resisted long and hard but eventually they became vastly outnumbered. Originally they were only a few million in number themselves, but with another ten million new white faces arriving each and every year over the period written about, the already rapidly-diminished native population found itself up against unconquerable odds.

Dee Brown wrote this originally in 1970, when Native Americans were still termed "Indians", and there are references to "squaws" and "heap big soldiers" that probably wouldn't be found in a more modern treatise. Nevertheless it's a hugely important piece of work that exposes the early movers and shakers in an embryonic United States, for the lies, greed and deep racism that they indulged in.

An absolute must-read.
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101 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 1998
I first read this book in 1981, when a friend showed it to me almost as soon as I set foot on American soil from England. From it I learned how awful the Native Americans had been treated in America, and I wanted to learn more, so I travelled around the country visiting Native people in their own homes and reservations. I made many wonderful friends, including my Dakota partner. The book doesn't lie, I have heard those same stories from the mouths of elders and young alike. Passed down through their families, the stories still live on. Dee Brown has written a book about these same stories, he does it in a way that makes us all sit and think. After reading the book again, it has the same effect on my soul, except now it is more personal as I have visited the places in the book and heard the voices too. I am back in England now, my quest has ended but my love for this book will never end. Read it and start your own quest off, please.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2006
This is a fantastic classic detailing the demise of the plains Indians and deals with them incident by incident, tribe by tribe, chief by chief from around the 1850s to the early 20th century.

If the only good Indian was a dead Indian, and if civilisation was to prevail, this book is a stark examination of the lack of morality in the process, or at least the victory of might and legality over right.

One thing never mentioned in discussions about the US war of Independence is that the British wished to maintain treaties with the Indians and protect their land rights wheareas the Washingtonians were already in the process of making a land grab before the war took place. The Indians took the side of the British and they had hell to pay long afterwards as they were wiped off the face of America, along with the Bison.

Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Custer's last stand. Read about it here.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2001
With a life-time of reading behind me I can say that without a shadow of doubt that this book has raised more emotion than anything I have ever passed my eyes over. The history of the native Red Indian has been portrayed so inaccuratly by Western Films that we have the image that they were all savages. This book by Dee Brown puts this lie to rest but does not stop there. This must be one of the finest written examples of mans inhumanity to his fellow man. A story of broken promises,lies and deceite and the planned destruction of North America's indigenous people is portraid in way that is hard to accept when you realise that this happened less than two hundred years ago. The film Dances With Wolves must be the nearest true film of the struggle of the Indian against the merciless tide of the 'New American's'. If you have never been moved by a piece of literature before, buy this book and I challenge you to read it and not be moved by the plight of a race driven to near extinction.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2003
I first read this book at the age of 14 in 1972 and its impact has remained with me ever since. This shocking and heartrending true story of what happened to the native Americans cannot fail to move you; a story of the triumph of greed and 'progress' over the simple way of life of a noble people. It makes uncomfortable reading. You will never be able to watch a Western again without feeling a pang of shame.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2005
This was without doubt one of the most moving,sad accounts of real life history that i have ever read. As I read through the book my shock and anger at how native americans were treated at the hands of the americans intensified. To see a race of proud people reduced to the way of life they eventually had to suffer with was truly disgraceful. It illustrated the pure greed and lack of compassion for a way of life lost forever.
Obviously the book only gives the view point of native americans but then what man wouldn't fight to save his own land.For anyone interested in native american history I would definitely recommend this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2007
I'm quite an emotional person, but this book angered me and hurt me in equal measure throughout, so much so, that its probably the most emotional account of historical significance I have ever read. I have cried throughout.

I first came across the book in 1982, when a science teacher of mine brought it into class after an American holiday. He smuggled it out of the States, he claimed, and its story touched me then. I didn't read much then, but now I have my own copy, it touches me more deeply than I could ever have imagined. Its a difficult and upsetting read.

Genocide, or attempted genocide is something civilised people simply do not do. But what Dee Brown captures in all too few words is genocide on a brutally wide scale, by a supposedly civilised nation. Its possibly more shocking than the treatment of black people in pioneer America.

The stories are heart rending and made me feel ashamed to be descended from the kinds of people that make this book so shocking.

I once saw a series on the televison called How The West Was Lost, and this book explains in graphic detail what that series shied away from. Here are the well known names from American Indian history, but also names not so well known. Long forgotten by outsiders, they crop again and again to remind the reader that the so-called Indian Wars were not simply personalities matched against each other, but horrificly planned exterminations.

It is said that history is written by those who hang heroes, Dee Brown has written a history of the hanged.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2001
I haven't even finished reading the book yet but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is one of the most emotive history books I have ever read. As a student of history for many years I have rarely come across a piece of work that evokes the emotion and interest of the reader in the way this book does. A tremendous survey of the Indian frontier wars which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2009
What an incredibly engaging book!

I hardly noticed the page count flying by as I absorbed and digested the drama that unfolded before me.

Stories littered with broken promises, betrayals, harsh conditions, misunderstandings, strong and weak tribal relationships, honour, bravery and self-respect.

Having not read anything before with regards to this topic, I found that this book was ideal for the beginner. The book contains the stories of the various tribes who suffered from the effects of American expansionism from around 1850 -1890. The book is written from a Native Indian viewpoint in order to allow previous misconceptions to be put right or at least to be explained.

The book is simply written but has a massive impact on the reader as the emotions and frustrations of the tribes are described.

The book is very sad, highly emotional but essential reading.
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