Thunder in the Mountains

  • by Daniel Sharfstein
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 18 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Oliver Otis Howard thought he was a man of destiny. Chosen to lead the Freedmen's Bureau after the Civil War, the Union Army general was entrusted with the era's most crucial task: helping millions of former slaves claim the rights of citizens. He was energized by the belief that abolition and Reconstruction, the country's great struggles for liberty and equality, were God's plan for himself and the nation.
But as the nation's politics curdled in the 1870s, General Howard exiled himself from Washington, DC, rejoined the army, and was sent across the continent to command forces in the Pacific Northwest. Shattered by Reconstruction's collapse, he assumed a new mission: forcing Native Americans to become Christian farmers on government reservations. Howard's plans for redemption in the West ran headlong into the resistance of Chief Joseph, a young Nez Perce leader in northeastern Oregon who refused to leave his ancestral land.
Claiming equal rights for Native Americans, Joseph was determined to find his way to the center of American power and convince the government to acknowledge his people's humanity and capacity for citizenship.

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What the Critics Say

"One of the epic tales of American history, rendered by a master storyteller. Daniel Sharfstein breathes new life into the fascinating figures at the heart of the Nez Perce War." (Karl Jacoby, author of The Strange Career of William Ellis)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Even with best intentions, it's an atrocity

This is an engaging, thorough telling of the story of the Nez Perce. Perhaps a bit tangential at times, but it only serves to draw the wider canvas. The book gives a more comprehensive view of members of both sides of the conflict than is usually found.

It details building from what may have been well intentioned, though bigoted and paternalistic, efforts to civilize native peoples, to all-out bloody war when those same native people refuse to accept that the benefits of a free society don't apply to them. How long can people accept murder without chance of redress because of the color of their skin or their choice of spirituality? When that dam breaks, the rationalization of quelling the savage revolt is cast. It's the same story, to a greater or lesser degree, all over the continent.

Of particular interest was that it paints Howard in a sympathetic light, noting his work in the Freedmen's Bureau, though never quite absolving him of the inherent supremacism in his evangelical Christianity. It's very measured and does well to maintain objectivity. But ultimately, the truth is the truth.
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- Buretto

Extraordinary history lesson

This book portrays the history of the Nez Perce flight and all the circumstances surrounding that part of the nations history in a way I have never heard before. Detailed but never tedious; a can't put it down until you are done book.
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- Michael M.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio