The Heart of Everything That Is

  • by Bob Drury, Tom Clavin
  • Narrated by George Newbern
  • 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling tradition of Empire of the Summer Moon, this is the untold story of Red Cloud, the most powerful Indian commander of the Plains who witnessed the opening of the West.
The great Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud was the only Plains Indian to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the American government to sue for peace in a conflict named for him. At the peak of their chief’s powers, the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States. But unlike Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, or Geronimo, the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to painstaking research by two award-winning authors, his incredible story can finally be told.
Born in 1821 in what is now Nebraska, Red Cloud grew up an orphan who overcame myriad social disadvantages to advance in Sioux culture. Through fearless raids against neighboring tribes, like the Crow and Pawnee, he acquired a reputation as the best leader of his fellow warriors, catapulting him into the Sioux elite - and preparing him for the epic struggle his nation would face with an expanding United States. Drawing on a wealth of evidence that includes Red Cloud’s 134-page autobiography, lost for nearly a hundred years, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin bring their subject to life again in a narrative that climaxes with Red Cloud’s War - a conflict whose massacres presaged the Little Bighorn and ensured Red Cloud’s place in the pantheon of Native American legends.
A story as big as the West, with portraits of General William Tecumsah Sherman, explorer John Bozeman, mountain man Jim Bridger, Red Cloud protégé Crazy Horse, and many others, The Heart of Everything That Is not only places you at the center of the conflict over western expansion, but finally gives our nation’s greatest Indian war leader the modern-day recognition he deserves.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Irresistable Force Paradox: Manifest Destiny

When an unstoppable force (aka the white man) meets an immoveable object (aka the American Indian). Vae Victis...

Well-researched and presented piece of American history that does not take sides, but rather presents the battles between the savage efficiency of the Oglala Sioux and a technologically advanced U.S. government. Chief Red Cloud realized early in his life that the government treatise "existed on paper and dissolved on the ground," and refused to continue meeting with the U.S. government, saying he would continue instead, to fight their encroachment on his people's sacred grounds. Considered by historians as the greatest American Indian military strategist, Red Cloud was able to analyze the U.S. soldiers fighting style and their conditions, and use the knowledge to his tactical advantage to fight for the Indian way of life. In his later years, after a life of battles and meetings with the government, Red Cloud knew his people and their life style was no match for the empire-minded white man; the bow and arrow no match for guns that fired multiple bullets.

Similar to Empire of the Summer Moon, but focused on Chief Red Cloud as opposed to a tribe of American Indians. I found the read fascinating, but definitely brutal. After reading dozens of books about the American Indians, a favorite subject of mine, this is the first time I have had the authors actually explain the reason for such savage butchery.

I read the Autobiography of Red Cloud (by R. Eli Paul) about a dozen years ago, told by Red Cloud to different journalists, writers, etc., (which would be a good companion read to this book) but found this one better organized and the better view into life in the American West from both sides on the great plains in the mid 1800's. Don't miss if this is a subject you are interested in--the information is riveting and the narration/production very good.


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- Mel

Couldn't put it down!

This was an excellent read!

“The Heart of Everything That Is” provides the reader an insight into the lives of the Native Americans as never heard before. Clavin/Drury do an excellent job of telling (most) of the story thru the eyes of these brave and noble people as their land is stolen from them and their people are forced to live where the whites say. It was fascinating to learn about the Indian culture without candy-coating their actions and using Hollywood as the yardstick for which to measure them. They were far from savage; noble, brave, gallant, courageous.

Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Old Man Afraid of his Horses and countless others are the true heros of the frontier by defending what was already theirs. It was interesting to understand how the Indians interacted within their tribes and with other (Indian) communities, and it was fascinating to learn how they lived and fought whether or not it was against other Indians or the Whites. And it was difficult to comprehend the true history of the United States as the chapters unfold and the white soldiers continue to take.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The even-flow from page to page and chapter to chapter along with the easy to listen narration by George Newbern made this 2-part down load any easy selection for a second read in the coming weeks. We as Americans owe a great deal to the Natives who were here before us and we have Clavin/Drury to thank for sharing this small part of their valiant history.
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- Rick "Rick H."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-05-2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio