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The Indian Agent by Dan O'Brien

The Indian Agent

by Dan O'Brien

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The Indian Agent by Dan O’Brien tells the true story of Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy who was appointed as the Indian Agent to the newly created Pine Ridge Reservation. McGillycuddy was a wise choice, although still a young man, he had years of experience with the Sioux Indians from his time serving as a contract surgeon under General Crook. He was at Little Big Horn, one day after the massacre and over time he both traveled among and made friends with the Lakota Sioux. He considered the renowned warrior Crazy Horse as having been a close friend.

Desiring to make changes and help to guide these people to a new way of life, he met many obstacles from both government sources and Easterners who didn’t understand the situation. By far though his biggest obstacle was the old war chief Red Cloud. Red Cloud had had the previous agent under his thumb and didn’t want to lose what power he had. McGillycuddy was a bit of a despot, seeming to believe that only he knew what was best for these people. He thought nothing of throwing eastern visitors off the reservation if he deemed them “troublemakers”. A shift in the government in Washington eventually seals the fate of the Indian Agent and he is replaced by a political hack. Around the same time the notorious Ghost Dancing begins on the reservation . Surrounded by greed, treachery, and nasty politics his dream of creating a peaceful, working environment for the Lakota Sioux is destroyed as events lead to an unavoidable climax that was to become known as Wounded Knee.

A well researched account of an event that was to have a huge impact on American History. I found this book interesting but with the point-of-view being a little one sided as often happens when real people and events are made into a fictionalized novel. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jan 19, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006082381X, Mass Market Paperback)

In praise of The Contract Surgeon:

"The Contract Surgeon draws a vivid portrait of Crazy Horse and gives an interesting, fresh perspective on the Great Sioux War." -Larry McMurtry

"[An] impeccably researched novel." -The New York Times Book Review

In 1999 The Contract Surgeon was published to great critical acclaim. It introduced readers to Valentine McGillycuddy, the U.S. Army contract surgeon who became a friend of the great war chief Crazy Horse. Through McGillycuddy's eyes, the novel recounts the friendship that so deeply impacted history. It also chronicles the Great Sioux War, one of the most violent and reprehensible periods in this nation's history.

THE INDIAN AGENT is the riveting sequel to The Contract Surgeon. After Crazy Horse's death, McGillycuddy went on to become the youngest agent in history for the Red Cloud Agency, renamed the Pine Ridge Indian Agency, where he served longer than any other agent before him. The politics and the enormous tensions of the early days of the reservation are depicted in fascinating detail, as are the Sioux people's painful attempts at transition to reservation life. McGillycuddy had lived on the vast plains with them. No one knew better what the Sioux had given up- or understood more fully the impossibility of returning to that life. Incredibly suspenseful and full of the texture of the Great Plains, THE INDIAN AGENT is a masterpiece that leads us through one of the most devastating periods of the West, to the book's climax-the massacre at Wounded Knee.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:28 -0400)

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