Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “That Dark and Bloody River” as Want to Read:
That Dark and Bloody River
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

That Dark and Bloody River

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  464 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
An epic novel by an award-winning author chronicles the settling of the Ohio River Valley, home to the defiant Shawnee Indians, who vow to defend their land against the seemingly unstoppable. ...more
Paperback, 880 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Bantam (first published 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about That Dark and Bloody River, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about That Dark and Bloody River

John Adams by David McCullough1776 by David McCulloughTeam of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinA People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnBattle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
Best Non-fiction American History Books
155th out of 1,236 books — 1,710 voters
Luna Aeturnus by Simon OkillLuna Sanguis by Simon OkillDead Until Dark by Charlaine HarrisAbraham Lincoln by Seth Grahame-SmithPapap's Teeth by Danielle DeVor
bloody covers
153rd out of 205 books — 118 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,006)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bob Mayer
Apr 05, 2016 Bob Mayer rated it really liked it
Eckert is the master of writing about the early frontier. His research is phenomenal. The narrative storyline tends to be a bit difficult, but that's because he's covering so much. Essentially this is the history of settling the Ohio River.

I really think if the people who live in that area knew how unbelievably brutal that frontier was, they'd be stunned. Both sides committed what we would consider atrocities but they were fighting for their lives and their livelihoods.

One example is the battle
Ellie Sorota
Apr 15, 2013 Ellie Sorota rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
In That Dark and Bloody River Allan Eckert writes an engaging historical narrative, documenting the settlement of the Ohio river valley and the ensuing war of settlers and Indians. This is the first Eckert book I have read, but it looks like you can't go wrong, with an author who's been nominated seven times for the Pulitzer Prize in literature. His acclaimed "The Winning of America" 6 volume set follows the westward expansion, and has received high praise. Though his intention was to follow th ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Laure rated it did not like it
This book, about the settlement of the Ohio River Valley, was recommended to me by a fellow cruise passenger last month. However, I found it tedious with it day-by-day recounting which whites died at the hands of the Native Americans, and vice versa. To really keep up with the book, I would have needed to constantly look at a period-accurate map of the area as well as keep a list of which settlers settled where - without those, both the places and names blended all together.

One interesting thing
Jul 24, 2014 Chuck rated it it was amazing
Allan W. Eckert's "That Dark and Bloody River" covers the history of the settlement of the Upper Ohio River, concentrating upon the settlement of Kentucky and the period from the Revolutionary War until the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

I have been a fan of Allen Eckert's writings since reading his "Wilderness Empire" many years ago. Eckert's unique style is to write a series of short stories about various historical people loosely connected by deed and geography to the theme of the book and loosely
Jan 02, 2013 William rated it really liked it
Another terrific effort by Eckert. Using contemporary diaries and documents, Eckert is excellent in conveying the atmosphere/attitude/background of events great and small in the settling of the Ohio River Valley, between Pittsburgh and Louisville.
While some criticize Eckert's "political license" of inserting dialogue (where no documents exist), his years of study of the principle characters, backed by extensive research, should allow him the occasional "license"--which is sporadically used.
Derek Gilbert
Jan 21, 2009 Derek Gilbert rated it it was amazing
A meticulously researched account of the settlement of the Ohio River valley during the years before and after the American Revolution. Eckert presents a balanced narrative that makes it plain that there were heroes and villains on all sides: colonists, Brits, and native Americans. And the names emerging from that period of history--Simon Kenton, Sam Brady, Lewis Wetzel, Blue Jacket--are not the ones you expect. (Daniel Boone is there, but his story is reserved for another Eckert work, The Court ...more
Apr 22, 2008 Sharon added it
It is really not fiction. The author Allen Eckart ex-
plains in his preface that he has used direct quotes which are based on original documents; this makes it not academic history, but generally it agrees with more conventional sources I have read. It covers the
history of the Ohio Valley from the pre-English inva-
sions to beyond the cession of most of Ohio in the
Treaty of Greenville of 1794. Relatives of mine were
involved in massacres of Indians and were in turn mas-
sacred themselves: at least t
Feb 28, 2015 Chrisl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natives, hf-usa, 1990s
Print too small. Toxic hand cream residue. Won't be able to read this library copy. Three stars for brief history lesson and potential,

Interesting hybrid. Library of Congress cataloging - History, Dewey 977. Regional library shelves as fiction. Short history lesson at beginning of book, followed by faction novel.

Do recommend author's Hawk book.
Incident at Hawk's Hill

Some quotes from early pages :

"It was a time of flux, with various tribes almost constantly warring with one another. What were l
Marty Grant
Jan 09, 2011 Marty Grant rated it it was amazing
This book helps us understand the dilemma of both pioneer settlers and Native Americans during the white man's advance across the Ohio River in the late 1700's.
Sep 24, 2014 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in reading this historical-fiction book because it mentions one of my ancestors in several places. I had hoped it would talk a little more about the boating industry that developed along the river, as another ancestor was a boatman on the Ohio; unfortunately I was disappointed in that. The book was interesting. The intro wasn't very narrative, and felt too long; though it did serve as a good background. The first-hand testimonies of events really helps to paint a picture of why ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Candice rated it really liked it
I wanted to know more about the history of the area I grew up in. This really is a historic record based on extensive research. I thought it was well written and very interesting. Most of the entries were short reports of the experiences of people who were instrumental in the white man's settlement of the Ohio Valley, which includes Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. It also presents the story from the Native Americans' viewpoint. Basically, the settlers were ruthless, the new American Co ...more
Jan 29, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
"Comprehensive and riveting..." is what The Columbus Dispatch review said of this Eckert masterpiece. I found this book delivered these promises, and then some. This book takes the reader deeper into the story started in Eckert's, The Frontiersmen.

That Dark and Bloody River tells the compelling story of the settling of the Ohio River Valley. The courage described of both the Whites and the Native Americans during the struggle is awe inspiring.

Eckert transports the reader to a time we can only
Aug 20, 2008 Doug rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any guy
Recommended to Doug by: Stu Anderson
Great book. Though it can be dry at times (especially at the beginning), but it more than makes up for it. It reminds you how violent the history of the US was and that the country is really built on a river of blood. Tells the gruesome tales of the settlement of the Ohio river valley and the warring which occurred between the indians and american settlers. Many atrocities committed by both side make this book very dark and very hard to put down. Just a great book, and will likely give anyone a ...more
Brian Andersen
I have read other Eckert books but I will admit I put this one off because of its size. It is a great book packed with much information told in an entertaining way. You really should read all the notes that enhance the story. Some of them are quite lengthy but help explain the background or important details about what happens later that would otherwise distract from the narrative. It also helps if you have a pretty good overview of this period of history prior to reading but it still stands on ...more
Kerry Zane
Jan 19, 2015 Kerry Zane rated it really liked it
On the one hand, this is an excellent book, well written for its subject matter. Were I anyone else, I'd leave it at that. However, I'm also a Zane, a direct descendant of the Zane family that figures prominently in the book. My problem here is that Eckert pretty much took as gospel what western author Zane Grey said in his first three novels--Betty Zane, Spirit of the Border, The Last Trail--about the family (yes, Zane Grey was a distant cousin). Grey, for instance, said the first Zane was an e ...more
Nancy Houston Fields
Jan 08, 2011 Nancy Houston Fields rated it it was amazing
Having grown up in the Ohio Valley, I found this book to be a fascinating account of events surrounding the settlement of that area. As a genealogist, it is a wealth of knowledge for anyone searching for ancestors who lived in the real "wild West" of Western PA/VA and Ohil River Valley.
Jan 01, 2015 Kay rated it liked it
Fascinating story of the Ohio River Valley. Got this book because it is related to my Genealogy. Helps me to understand their lives. Some were mentioned in the book. It was a very bloody time. Must have taken a lot of courage or desperation to settle in those times.
Absolutely wonderful book detailing the early conflicts of native peoples and anglo-americans. With this book you get to intimitely know lesser known figures of American history like Logan, Cornstalk, Samuel McCulloch, the Greathouse brothers and Michael Cresap.
Jim LaSalle
Dec 02, 2009 Jim LaSalle rated it really liked it
A novel based on historical events during before, during and after the US War of Independence. Gives insight to the daily lives of settlers along the Ohio River. Especially interesting if you have lived or traveled in the Ohio River Valley. Heavily footnoted.
Apr 25, 2012 Claudia rated it it was amazing
Why this is classified as a novel here on GoodReads is baffling. It is, in fact, a meticulously researched and detailed account of the settling of the 1,000 mile long Ohio River. It is 630 pages in length with 200 pages of footnotes.

Richard Schick
Feb 17, 2014 Richard Schick rated it it was amazing
It is so easy to think of the frontier as the far west, the battle for the Ohio River valley was the more epic. The Indian nations were at their full strength and glory and the greed and ruthlessness of the whites unbridled.
Feb 04, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
Allan Eckert was a master of his craft. His was a completely unique voice in popular history, and will be sorely missed. Eckert's work is informative, highly detailed, yet also compellingly and dramatically written.

This book is a history of the Ohio River Valley from around 1750 to 1799. The Ohio really was a "dark and bloody" river, for both whites and Indians. Like his other works, this book is unflinching; it illustrates the horrific atrocities committed by both sides, and manages to condemn
Sherrandy Swift
Jan 08, 2013 Sherrandy Swift rated it it was amazing
An excellent read about the dangers of frontier life during the settling of the Ohio River Valley. Discusses the wars between the Indians and the white settlers encroaching upon their land.
Nick Vulich
Aug 01, 2015 Nick Vulich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Comprehensive overview of settlement along Ohio River

Great read. Would definitely recommend to anyone interested in American history. Definitely shows the early settlers for what they were: a bunch of land hungry thieves intent on taking over Indian lands. Also paints an interesting picture of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They're not the saints you think. Both men helped develop the policy used to steal Indian lands, especially George Washington.

It's a long read but well worth th
Nov 22, 2014 Sally rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because we were vacationing in Kentucky and Ohio and wanted a little historical perspective. Eckert never disappoints!
Jim Hering
Mar 09, 2012 Jim Hering rated it really liked it
If you are interested in historical biography and have an interest in the settlement of the Ohio Valley, this is the book for you. Well written.
Sep 14, 2010 Dennis rated it really liked it
Another great book by A. Eckert. For those interested in history of settlements along the Ohio River, and beyond I highly recommend it.
Barbara Ramsey
Feb 06, 2013 Barbara Ramsey rated it it was amazing
Dark and bloody indeed. Sometime simply a listing of atrocities committed. Good history though of a small geographical area.
Tracy Wilson
Jun 17, 2012 Tracy Wilson rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the settling of the Ohio river area. Highly recommended for those interested in early US history
Jul 14, 2008 Valentine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History buffs
Fantastic narrative history of the Ohio River Valley. Hard to put down, even though it's 630+ pages.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 33 34 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer
  • Panther in the Sky
  • Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II
  • Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America
  • Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and the Struggle to End Segregation
  • To Purge This Land with Blood: A Biography of John Brown
  • Mr. Jefferson's Hammer: William Henry Harrison and the Origins of American Indian Policy
  • Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1961-1973
  • From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality
  • The World's Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia
  • The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution--And Why We Need It More Than Ever
  • 15 Minutes: General Curtis Lemay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation
  • After the Darkness: Reflections on the Holocaust
  • Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection
  • Tecumseh: A Life
  • Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties
  • From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad
  • Thomas Paine and the Promise of America
Allan W. Eckert was an American historian, historical novelist, and naturalist.

Eckert was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in the Chicago, Illinois area, but had been a long-time resident of Bellefontaine, Ohio, near where he attended college. As a young man, he hitch-hiked around the United States, living off the land and learning about wildlife. He began writing about nature and American hi
More about Allan W. Eckert...

Share This Book

“In spite of these disasters, some of the tribesmen continued to fight for their territory, but they were quickly overwhelmed and taken into captivity, placed aboard ships and sold as slaves in the West Indies. At the same time the whites were bringing to America their own slaves whose skins were black. The first shipments of these unfortunates were brought to Jamestown for sale by the Dutch in 1619. Within two decades the British realized what a lucrative trade slavery was, so they ousted the Dutch slave traders and, in 1639, established their own Royal African Company to make massive raids on the native villages of the Dark Continent and bring the chained captives to America to satisfy the ever-growing demand for slave labor.6 In all such matters, the human cruelty inflicted on people of either red skin or black was of precious little concern to the imperious British.” 0 likes
More quotes…