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The Autobiography of Black Hawk by Black…

The Autobiography of Black Hawk (1834)

by Black Hawk, Brett Berry (Narrator)

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171769,515 (3.6)4
Title:The Autobiography of Black Hawk
Authors:Black Hawk (Author)
Other authors:Brett Berry (Narrator)
Info:Audible Inc., audiobook download edition, 3 hours and 34 minutes
Collections:Your library
Tags:In English language, non-fiction, autobiography, biography, native american autobiography, native american biography

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Black Hawk: An Autobiography by Black Hawk (1834)



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“I explained to them the manner the British and Americans fought. Instead of stealing upon each other, and taking every advantage to kill the enemy and save their own people, as we do, (which, with us, is considered good policy in a war chief,) they marched out, in open daylight, and fight, regardless of the number of warriors they may lose! After the battle is over, they retire to feast, and drink wine, as if nothing had happened; after which, they make a statement in writing, of what they have done – each party claiming the victory! and neither giving an account of half the number that have been killed on their own side. They all fought like braves, but would not do to lead a war party with us. Our maxim is, “to kill the enemy and save our own men.” Those chiefs would do to paddle a canoe, but not to steer it.” (page 20)

Firsthand account from Black Hawk. Originally published in 1834.

Shines a light on many weaknesses of that time that still exist today:
Inability to see how actions affect others.
Projecting problems unto others in an unbalanced way.
Making oneself out to be the victim.
Unworthy entitlement to land ownership. ( )
  Michael.Bradham | Jan 28, 2015 |
Reading this served as a sort of coda to a history I read of the War of 1812. The resolution of that war began with the British proposing a Native American buffer state between themselves and the burgeoning United States that would have changed the face of the North American map forever. Black Hawk's dictated memoir is a sad portrait of what happened instead. Couched in politeness he outlines the travesties and injustices perpetrated against his people as they were sacrificed to Manifest Destiny.

This memoir was the first widespread perspective shared among whites from the native side and came directly on the heels of Black Hawk's famed tour of many US cities, but appears to have had little influence or at least none that extended to the political sphere. The destruction of the 500 Nations continued to be viewed as something inevitable, like a fad passing out of style rather than outright theft, racism and massacre. This memoir is not entirely noble either, however, ending on a sour note as Black Hawk outlines his opinion of what can be done to control the black slave population. Apparently he didn't see the parallels between another oppressed people and his own. ( )
  Cecrow | Nov 12, 2014 |
Black Hawk dictated his autobiography through amanuenses Antoine LeClair which was originally published in 1833. He was a Sauk leader and in his own words describes the conflict in 1832 as Americans came into the land east of the Mississippi and took the land away from his people. Black Hawk gives a good description of the Native American Culture as well as the trouble with trying to do business with the US government. Of course the citizens weren't admirable in their behavior either which was probably fear driven. It was interesting to learn about this area of Illinois and Wisconsin. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 23, 2013 |
Audiobook from Audible. Black Hawk's story of duplicity by the US. While I assume he is disposed toward his own positive account of himself, he also acknowledges his errors at many points. Given the execrable conduct of the US government in its dealings with native people, I'll presume a reasonable degree of accuracy. Black Hawk is clear and even-handed, and I enjoyed reading this despite the sorrow provoked by its content. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
For this history, this is a worthwhile needed read, but I can't say that I enjoyed it. It does go quickly, but it's difficult to look at America's early history from such a straightforward view as Black Hawk's. As a modern reader, I want him to be cynical and enraged--his calm hopeful outlook is hard to take the further into his story one gets.

I do strongly recommend this edition, though it might be a bit more expensive than others. The historical material and introductory material is well worth the while. The only complaint I have with this edition is that the type is a bit small for comfortable reading over a long length of time. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Feb 2, 2009 |
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Presents the transcribed autobiography of Black Hawk, a Sauk leader who struggled against white encroachment on his people's lands in western Illinois in the 1800s before his defeat at the Battle of Bad Axe in 1832, and includes a map of the Black Hawk War of the same year.… (more)

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