978: The Heart of Everything That Is by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

by Gerard


978.0049752: Drury, Bob and Tom Clavin. The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. 365 pp. ISBN 978-1-4516-5466-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 970: History of North America
  • 978: History of the Western United States
  • 978.00497: History of American Native peoples (Great Plains)
  • 978.0049752: Siouan Indians

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin come together in The Heart of Everything That Is to tell the tale of a forgotten man. Red Cloud, a member of the Oglala Lakota peoples, was born near the Platte River in 1821. In the beginning, he was trained as a superb warrior, fighting against other nations, namely the Pawnee and the Crow. But then gunfire came across the Great Plains. Gold rushers, homesteaders, and the US military blazed trails into the newly created states of Missouri, Arkansas, and Iowa. But, when settlers threatened to rob the Powder River Country in Wyoming and Montana of its resources and new forts emerged with new enemies, Red Cloud, with the help of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, fought back. The nation had just ended the Civil War the previous year, but was again at odds with people in its own borders.

The authors’ telling of Red Cloud’s War, including the Fetterman massacre, and the Great Sioux War after that is rich and thoroughly engaging. You can’t help but be drawn in by a history of the American West. Many of the events recounted here inspired great tales like Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. It’s very hard to believe that few full biographies have been written about Red Cloud. At his height, he controlled territory stretching from Iowa to Idaho and from Southern Canada to Oklahoma. Drury and Clavin are unflinching in their depictions of military engagements, tactics, and outcomes. Both sides fought their hardest for their cause, but in the end, nation-building triumphed over nation-saving. The legacy of the American Indian is limited to a few great figures, but it’s nice to see one of them get their day in the sun. A sweeping and magnificent read.