Category: History: Pacific NW
Copyright/published Year: 2017 by W W Norton
Oliver Otis Howard thought he was a man of destiny. Chosen to ì lead the Freedmen's Bureau after the Civil War, the Union Army ì general was entrusted with the era's most crucial task: helping ì millions of former slaves claim the rights of citizens. He was ì energized by the belief that abolition and Reconstruction, the ì country's great struggles for liberty and equality, were God's ì plan for himself and the nation. To honor his righteous ì commitment to a new American freedom, Howard University was named ì for him.
But as the nation's politics curdled in the 1870s, General ì Howard exiled himself from Washington, D.C., rejoined the army, ì and was sent across the continent to command forces in the ì Pacific Northwest. Shattered by Reconstruction's collapse, he ì assumed a new mission: forcing Native Americans to become ì Christian farmers on government reservations.
Howard's plans for redemption in the West ran headlong into ì the resistance of Chief Joseph, a young Nez Perce leader in ì northeastern Oregon who refused to leave his ancestral land. ì Claiming equal rights for Native Americans, Joseph was determined ì to find his way to the center of American power and convince the ì government to acknowledge his people's humanity and capacity for ì citizenship. Although his words echoed the very ideas about ì liberty and equality that Howard had championed during ì Reconstruction, in the summer of 1877 the general and his troops ì ruthlessly pursued hundreds of Nez Perce families through the ì stark and unforgiving Northern Rockies. An odyssey and a tragedy, ì their devastating war transfixed the nation and immortalized ì Chief Joseph as a hero to generations of Americans.
Recreating the Nez Perce War through the voices of its ì survivors, Daniel J. Sharfstein's visionary history of the West ì casts Howard's turn away from civil rights alongside the nation's ì rejection of racial equality and embrace of empire. The conflict ì becomes a pivotal struggle over who gets to claim the American ì dream: a battle of ideas about the meaning of freedom and ì equality, the mechanics of American power, and the limits of what ì the government can and should do for its people. The war that ì Howard and Joseph fought is one that Americans continue to fight ì today.
Hardcover, 8 pages of illustrations
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