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Tecumseh: A Life by John Sugden

Tecumseh: A Life

by John Sugden

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805041389, Hardcover)

Of Indian chief Tecumseh, U.S. president William Henry Harrison said, "If it were not for the vicinity of the United States, he would, perhaps, be the founder of an empire that would rival in glory that of Mexico or Peru." As it was, however, he was born just more than a decade shy of the discovery of the New World, and came of age in an era of violence and cultural decay in which Indian tribes across the continent expended all their energy to repulse the Europeans who were commandeering their land. By the end of the century, Tecumseh, a member of the Shawnee tribe, was an accomplished warrior; after losing his father and two older brothers to battle, he assumed the role of war chief. There seemed to be only two courses of action that might preserve his tribe: assimilation or war. After watching other tribes fail in their bids to mimic European society, the charismatic Tecumseh, aided by his brother (known as "the Prophet"), attempted a short-lived but inspired strategy of organizing a pan-Indian alliance to put down the European encroachers. It was while fighting alongside the British in the War of 1812 that Tecumseh was killed. His body was never found. Richard Johnson, the man who claimed to have taken the great chief down, went on to become Martin Van Buren's vice president.

With Tecumseh, biographer John Sugden expands the scope of his earlier book Tecumseh's Last Stand, which focused exclusively on the chief's final, fatal battle. In both books Sugden displays intimate knowledge of his subject; Tecumseh, however, takes a much more in-depth look at this complex man, his life, and the times that shaped him, and thus should appeal to American-history buffs as well as anyone interested in a carefully crafted biography of a fascinating character.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:30 -0400)

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"If Sitting Bull is the most famous American Indian, Tecumseh, the legendary Shawnee chieftain, is the most revered. In the early years of the nineteenth century he dreamed of welding the diverse North American tribes into a vast confederacy stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, strong enough to defend the cultures and lands of the Indians from the aggression of the United States. A charismatic leader with outstanding military and political talents, Tecumseh created a powerful pan-Indian alliance to replace intertribal conflict and indifference. A major figure in the War of 1812, he helped defeat American attempts to invade Canada, and his followers engaged U.S. armies across the entire frontier." "Although Tecumseh died in battle at the height of his fame with his vision of a great Indian confederacy in shreds, his reputation is secure. Unlike most Indian leaders, who operated locally or participated in intertribal warfare, Tecumseh does not stand for one tribe or nation but for all Native Americans. Despite his failed attempt at solidarity, he remains the ultimate symbol of endeavor and courage, unity and fraternity." "The product of thirty years of research in North America and Europe, this comprehensive and authoritative biography offers new revelations about every stage of the legendary chief's life by the leading scholar on Tecumseh and the Shawnees."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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