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Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,295 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
The fascinating portrayal of the Cherokee nation,filled with Native American legend, lore, and religion -- agripping American drama of power, politics,betrayal, and ambition.

B & W photographs
Paperback, 432 pages
Published September 22nd 1997 by Anchor (first published 1988)
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Catherine I am most of the way through this book by now and yes, it is very informative about the Cherokee people. It informs of their history and focuses…moreI am most of the way through this book by now and yes, it is very informative about the Cherokee people. It informs of their history and focuses particularly on how they assimilated into white culture, didn't understand it, and understood it at the same time. I didn't expect really for there to be as much about mixed-blood issues (with with white people) and consequences of that as well. The political history alone is very interesting. (less)
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Aug 28, 2007 Runningfox rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Yes very highly
I have bought and given away many copies of this book..It is my favorite book and it details the history of the Rise and Fall OF my people The Cheokees..I wish everyone would get a copy of this book and read what can happen when you do everything right and the government decides they want what you have obtained and take it away from you and give it to someone who did nothing to obtain it..Thia book gives informtuion bout a president of the US and his disregard for the human rights of people that ...more
Apr 07, 2009 Dan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
ok, i won't lie - this took a long time to get through. it's often incredibly dense, and the amount of research that went into it must have been astounding. and truth be told, i eventually found myself struggling to read each-and-every historical detail... but that's a shortcoming of my own attention span, not of the book.

as an inquiry into race and assimilation, this is about as good as it gets. it's not really the story of white settlers and native americans. it's the story of cherokees, creek
Jul 06, 2009 Sonny rated it really liked it
Well, this is exactly how I learned it in school. Oh,well,uh, maybe not exactly. In fact, not at all. Actually, it's alarming to realize how this version of reality is so totally inconsistent with public school education. OK, enough rant.

This fascinating story constructed from a personal viewpoint made it that much more compelling. I'll take on faith the quoted letters but suspect that some dots were connected by leap of faith and not historical documentation. But that's good enough for me to pa
Jun 22, 2011 Jogle rated it liked it
In the summer of 2008 I found myself dirty and exhausted in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, taking a day off whilst re-supplying on a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. As an Englishman alone, I was spoilt for choice between the Dollyworld theme park and the World of Magnets emporium. Whilst vacillating on this dilemma over a beer, I fell into conversation with a Cherokee lady who entranced me with a brief history of nearby Cherokee and the tragic history of The Trail of Tears. Continuing on the trek, I ...more
Jul 31, 2011 Virginia rated it it was amazing
My great, great grandfather volunteered to remove the Cherokees, so I bought this book to find out more about what he was commissioned to do. The book is called “Trail of Tears” and since I was only interested in the part my ancestor played, I thought I would only have to read half the book. Three quarters of the way through I realized the book’s subtitle is “The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation” and that I would probably be reading the whole book. Believe it or not, that was OK with me. I c ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
More than the Trail of Tears this is a very well written history of a crucial span of almost 100 years of the Cherokee and other tribe of the southeast. Their social life, the differing political current and their experiences with the 'whites' and more. Very comprehensive. The author is intentionally emotive or expressive at times but done very well. He also includes lots of original source material.

It also challenges a number of myths about the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee wer
Brian T
Sep 10, 2012 Brian T rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I really did.

I did finish reading it, but it was one of the most difficult to read books I have come across in a very long time. For anyone interested in this subject matter, there are other, much better, books. "Empire of the Summer Moon" about Quanah and the Comanches was fantastic! "Blood and Thunder" about the Navajos and Kit Carson was awesome too! I am a fan of this subject matter, even though it is quite obviously a tragic one. What "Manifest Destiny" did to al
Jun 01, 2008 Julie rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's obvious that the author did his homework; it's very well researched. On the other hand, I didn't find it to be a very readable book. I often lost track of the main characters and felt this was largely because the author didn't do a great job transitioning from one subject to the next. Also, I found his own intrepetations of what might have happened or what might have been going through one of the main actor's mind frequently unsubstanti ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Gela rated it it was amazing
My father gave this book to me years ago. I think I was just getting out of high school. A touch of his fathers history. I only remember bits and pieces of it. I liked it though its sad.
C.p. Bialois
Sep 18, 2011 C.p. Bialois rated it it was amazing
I'm a third Cherokee so this book really means a lot to me. Using actual written documents from that time, it depicts the Cherokee Nation as it was before the White man began to enforce his ideals and beliefs. It's centered around one of the greatest Cherokees Major Ridge and his family as they grew, adopted the white man's ways, and then fought against Andrew Jackson in court to remain on their ancestral land. Trail of Tears takes the history of a great people and examines what life was like an ...more
Jul 02, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
Reading Trail of Tears, made me perceive the United States as being younger. A sense of Déjà vu emerges between what was happening during the early years of our developing nation and events of the 1960's in the same areas of the country, the difference being the opposing skin color. The overlap of two brands of racism is hit upon in the account of the expulsion in Florida at the later period covered in the book where the Seminole's were quelled but there remained an influx of escaped slaves taki ...more
Melissa McClintock
I had to do a summary of a pov on the trail of tears, and this book was among the armload of books I used for research. However, it is so good, I kept reading it. Eventually it played a part in my final term paper re Andrew Jackson's presidency.

This book is not biased. It gives due where the Cherokee are concerned, and the controversy between chief ross and major john ridge, who was a chief under ross. Another example is that Jackson was correct in wanting the Cherokee to follow state laws and n
Apr 02, 2010 Matt rated it liked it
Decent historical look at the removal. The best part of the book I think was the beginning describing the setting in which Major Ridge was raised and how that informed his decision to send his sons North for school and kinda altered the course of what happened between the Treaty and the Ross Party. It's a very pro-Treaty book. Giving a lot of insight into why the Treaty party did what they did and the reprocussions felt by the Ridges and Waties, etc. Not much is given to Ross and his other leade ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Sandi rated it really liked it
It's hard to rate because it wS so sad but it captured the story well
Nov 04, 2012 Troi rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed (if that is an appropriate emotional description of what happens while reading such subject matter) this book. It was a very informative introduction to one of the most disgraceful policies ever implemented in the history of this country. This was a relatively short read, but I felt much better informed on both the political as well as the cultural thought processes that went into the horrific implementation of the so-called "Indian Removal" policy. It's certainly not the hi ...more
Sam Reaves
Apr 15, 2014 Sam Reaves rated it really liked it
The outlines of this story are well known: in the 1830's the Cherokees, one of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes of the southeastern United States, were forcibly uprooted from their ancestral lands in the southern Appalachians and moved to Indian Territory, later to become Oklahoma, suffering greatly from privation and disease along the way, which became known as the Trail of Tears. This remains one of the most shameful episodes in the sad history of the expropriation of American Indian lands, ...more
Noel Burke
Jan 08, 2014 Noel Burke rated it liked it
Shelves: general
I don't remember if this was the actual book, but I did read a book about the Cherokee Trail of Tears back when I was in middle school. Just wanted to add it to my list. I remember the story being pretty sad.
Sep 16, 2015 Ginger rated it liked it
I know there are other writings of this story and I will read those in the future. As for this one, I found it worthy for the sake of history but I was drowning in some of the detail that I felt didn't enhance or help the overall saga. I did appreciate that the life of Major Ridge was told from the beginning. I would have liked the same detail of Chief Ross. I continue to be amazed at the negative treatment of Native Americans. That said, there were those in government trying to figure out accep ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Outmind rated it it was amazing

I knew almost nothing about the Cherokee before reading this book, and the trail of tears was just a factlet tucked away in a dusty mind drawer, with no context or meaning. This book has shed some light on the Indians' predicament and a part of American history scarcely mentioned in European education. The trail itself was a tragic event to be sure, but what i found more interesting was the author's depiction of Cherokee life prior to the event, as well as the encroaching christian / white
Aug 30, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing
A thought provoking and compelling book that provides a more accurate depiction of history in the United States. What was so striking in this narrative was not only the government corruption, but the fact that even Native American tribe leaders could not control corruption within their own people. This same corruption plagues the human race to this day. In the midst of it all, were real people who loved despite all odds, who taught, grew through their intelligence and ingenuity, were spiritually ...more
Dewayne Watts
Jan 19, 2015 Dewayne Watts rated it it was amazing
Started reading this as background history information for my next novel, the follow up to "Still With Eyes Closed". About 1/3 way through. It is perhaps the best history of the Cherokees I have ever read. I am of the Chickamauga Clan and it did not surprise me to see the Watts name so much in the book. My family married into the Cherokee Nation in the early 1700's, the first entry in my family tree is 1704 and it parallels some o the same events. It took me a bit to follow since the author does ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
I could tell that I had spoiled myself as a reader when I found I had a very hard time getting through this work of nonfiction. The story was actually really good--the main thread through the book follows a [half-blood] Cherokee named Ridge, who was born right when the Cherokees were strong with their customs/traditions, including field games, warring with/scalping nearby tribes/frontiersmen, etc. Ridge was soon recognized as a natural leader with remarkable oratory skills, and he soon led his p ...more
Feisty Harriet
Jan 05, 2015 Feisty Harriet rated it really liked it
I read this book as part of a summer reading program prior to entering 10th grade, but I didn’t really remember much about it except that it was incredibly sad. In re-reading I find my memory was correct, although I experienced tangible feelings of sadness and rage towards the “Indian Problem” of the mid-1800′s. This book is dynamic in it’s terribly sad, historical facts. Ehle has put snippets of letters, telegrams, speeches, treaties and petitions to Congress. However, there is very little narr ...more
May 11, 2013 Vic rated it liked it

As a boy growing up in the 1940s/1950s England I was just as much obsessed with 'Cowboys and Indians' as any American child. The greatest present my parents ever bought me was a set of Arthur Meads "Children's Encyclopaedia". At about the age of 8 ,in one volume I read the story of Sequoyah, the man who created the Cherokee alphabet. This 'Indian' did not square at all with the wild painted whooping savages I saw shot off their horse every time I went to the cinema. Consequently I've been intri
Jul 31, 2015 Gregory rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the finest literature in understanding the American conflict with one of the most advanced Indian nations. The detail is fascinating, particularly Thomas Jefferson's own conflicts of moving the Indians west as a way to enhance foreign policy while wanting to honor the Cherokees' own nationhood. Essentially, America's own hegemony allowed for forced relocation and the ultimate genocide committed by the likes of Andrew Jackson.
Apr 10, 2014 Jackie rated it liked it
This book has had some serious research done and reads amazingly easy. Loads of quotes from authors during those days--not too long ago. When I hear about the suffering of the Cheyenne Indians, my own little setbacks no longer amount to much. Unbelievable that America the free has been built on such abuse.
May 11, 2013 Vic rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deals in great detail with the removal of the Cherokees from Georgia,Tennessee and Alabama to lands west of the Mississippi.

Although I find the subject matter enthralling I found the narrative style hard going. The author weaves in and out of straight forward history telling to personal anecdotes , personal letters, conjectured thoughts in some of the participants heads and then detailed accounts of council and committee meetings

His analysis is perhaps more balanced than similar books
Jul 22, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
I picked this up to learn a little bit about a branch of my wife and kid's heritage. I loved the early chapters, describing Cherokee culture when it was still relatively untouched by European/American civilization. Then it gets into how the American government undermined and betrayed the Cherokee to force them off their lands - basically a multi-decade political and legal process all too familiar to anyone who has ever attempted to understand the legal status of any other native peoples in the U ...more
Alexander Lochard
Dec 26, 2014 Alexander Lochard rated it it was amazing
It's monumental and full of stories and accounts of the struggle of the Cherokee during the years of President Andrew Jackson. It's truly a tearful story full of suffering to be never forgotten in American history. I give it TWO THUMBS UP! It's a must read...
Laura Edwards
May 22, 2015 Laura Edwards rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
I tried reading this book years ago and gave up, so I thought I'd give it another try. The second attempt was no better than the first. I just do not like the author's writing style. Can anyone suggest another book about the Cherokee nation?
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