Booklist Reviews 2018 March #1
An estimated 30,000 Native Americans fought in the Civil War, including thousands from the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee were deemed by whites to be one of the "five civilized tribes" of the Southeast because they had a written language, some adhered to Christianity, and some even owned slaves. Yet that didn't prevent the federal government from forcing many Cherokee to relocate west of the Mississippi during 1838 and 1839, along the so-called Trail of Tears. As Sedgwick (War of Two, 2015) reveals, it was disputes among Cherokee which led to an unusual fact, that unlike most tribes, the Cherokee fought on both sides in the Civil War. Under government pressure during the 1830s, the Cherokee were divided between "accommodationists" willing to leave their lands and those determined to stay. The leaders of the opposing factions, John Ross and a warrior usually called the Ridge, began as friends but became bitter opponents. Their inability to resolve their differences led to intratribal violence and the split during the war. Sedgwick has written an informative and engrossing account of this sad episode in American history. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2018 March #2
When Europeans arrived in North America, the Cherokee Nation occupied a vast territory in the southern Appalachians, where they prospered from the land's abundant resources. Native tribes were profoundly affected by conflicts between both British and French forces. After the American Revolution, the Cherokee adopted many European customs, but this did not save them from the U.S. government policy of removal in the 1830s. Sedgwick (War of Two) chronicles the history of the Cherokee by focusing on the lives of two men: Chief John Ross (1790–1866) and lawmaker Major Ridge (1771–1839). Once friends, the men disagreed over the issue of removal. Major Ridge and his followers signed the treaty providing for removal, while Ross and his supporters opposed it. These were turbulent years for the Cherokee. Despite their adoption of Anglicized business values and constitutional laws, and even owning slaves, they were forcibly removed in what is known as the Trail of Tears, which remains a divisive subject in tribal history. VERDICT Sedgwick's journalistic writing style allows for an informative book that will appeal to general readers, while also providing much-needed historical research. Libraries will want to add this volume to their U.S. history and Native American history collections.—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly at Illinois Eastern Community Coll., Mt. Carmel
Copyright 2018 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2018 March #1
In this richly textured slice of Native American history, journalist Sedgwick (War of Two) delves into the decades-long conflicts that divided the Cherokee Nation and eventually led factions to fight on both sides of the Civil War. At the center sit two Cherokee leaders, friends turned bitter rivals. He Who Walks on Mountains, known as the Ridge, and John Ross—both of mixed Cherokee and Scottish ancestry—first crossed paths while fighting under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812. Fourteen years later, the two men served, respectively, as the principal chief and first counselor of a thriving tribe whose government had a constitution and legislative and judiciary branches."Then," Sedgwick notes, "gold was found in Cherokee Georgia, and that ruined everything." By the early 1830s, the Cherokee were forced to leave Georgia on the Trail of Tears. Sedgwick recounts the growing hostility between Ross, whose followers wanted to fight the order, and the Ridge, whose followers considered removal inevitable and wanted to make sure they got the best deal possible, through the Civil War. Though Sedgwick doesn't break new ground with primary sources, and his storytelling suffers from some language that treats members of the tribe as an exotic monolith ("The Cherokee have always been an inspired, resilient people, close to the earth, and, with it, to the eternal"), he has mined the best contemporary scholarship to craft a narrative riven with human drama. Illus. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Apr.)
Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.