Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  29,633 ratings  ·  1,376 reviews
Now a special 30th-anniversary edition in both hardcover and paperback, the classic bestselling history The New York Times called "Original, remarkable, and finally heartbreaking...Impossible to put down"

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteen
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Paperback, Thirtieth Anniversary Edition, 509 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by Henry Holt and Company, LLC (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephanie
Fair warning, there may be some political views in this review which should not be surprising being that this book is the history of a government slaughtering a native people because they were simply in the way.

This book is a comprehensive history of the Native American from the moment when the white man showed up on this continent. It kind of goes a little like this.

White guys: “Hey y’all. Love the feathers! Wow its cold and we’re hungry; you wouldn’t be so kind as to help us out.”

Native Americ...more
Arukiyomi
It took me a long while to read this.

It wasn't that it was a boring read. far from it. But it was a disturbing read, and the fact that each chapter follows virtually the same pattern made it that much harder to read. You knew from the start how each chapter would end, though you desperately hoped it wouldn't.

Dee Brown's book should be required reading for every US citizen and on the book list for anyone considering US citizenship. It tells the true story of what the US was built on. Far from wha...more
Morgan
Apr 25, 2008 Morgan rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Everyone. Especially Americans.
I am FINALLY done with this book. It took me forever to read, largely due to the fact that it is absolutely heartbreaking. Most days I couldn't take reading it for more than 15 minutes.

That said, I believe it is one of the most important books I have read in my life. I find it absolutely unbelievable that I grew in Wyoming of all places, where many parts of "Bury My Heart" take place. I was surrounded by Native American culture, I learned about them in school, we took field trips to see places...more
Trevor
This was a remarkably depressing book. It is the sort of book that shows over and over again that there was literally nothing the Native Americans could have done to protect themselves from the all consuming and endlessly veracious greed of the European settlers. Just about every ‘tactic’ imaginable was used by the Native Americans – from treaties to war to abject capitulation – and nothing made any difference. The final result was always the same.

This is a tale of genocide. It is a tale in whic...more
Gaijinmama
This book is devastating, relentless, and depressing. It should be required reading for all U.S. citizens. High school history classes really should teach kids just exactly how our country expanded west. As an American of European descent, I am thoroughly disgusted. Invasion and destroying other people's cultures is bad enough, but we did even worse than take the Indians' land and systematically destroy so many of their cultures. Read on.
And yes, it is"cultures", plural. Most white people never...more
booklady
Jan 05, 2010 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone interested in learning the truth about our native heritage
Recommended to booklady by: a National Park Ranger
I got this book on our first trip around what I call the 'Great Sioux West'. When my dh retired from the AF we took a version of the trip I always dreamed of taking to see a good portion of our American West. We drove through parts of KS, NE, WY, MT, UT, and then back home. We visited mostly historic forts and National Parks. We stopped at endless historical markers and for countless deer, bison, and other wildlife. And all the while I read this incredible book. Although it covers Native America...more
Derek
This was, for me, a one of a kind, once in a lifetime type of book. It's the only book that I've ever read, detailing the settling of the American West, that is told completely from the American Indian perspective. Using tribal council records, autobiographies, and in some cases, first hand accounts, the author lets the Chiefs & warriors of various tribes tell their side of the story regarding this unfortunate part of U.S. history.

The biases of the white man(don't misunderstand me here. I'm...more
Chrissie
Audiobook was available at Downpour for only USD5.95. Excellent narration by Grover Gardner.

DEVASTATING. Very difficult reading. Dense. I am very glad it was written and that I have read it. The language used is perfect. I don't know how to properly convey to what extent this book upset me. Everyone should read it. Maybe you think you know what has happened to Native Americans, but you do not know the half of it. In 30 years, 1860-1890, the people were destroyed, and along with them fauna, flora...more
Andrew
NOTE: I in no way mean to denigrate the opinions and/or feelings of people who gave this book 4 or 5 stars. I make no assumptions as to why people have given this book such a high rating, though I do suggest one possibility could be to acknowledge the book's undeniable importance in presenting the Native American side of the story against the then-prevailing "victor's narrative."

I only read the two chapters concerning the fate of the Apache in general, and Cochise and Geronimo in particular, as...more
Tom
An important book, but depressing... and hard to read for that reason. A sad summary of the injustices done to the original occupants of this country. Unfortunately, they were a perceived barrier in the mad land grab that took place in the mid to late 1800s.

It's hard to comprehend the degree of evil done to them. So just imagine...

------------------

- One day, you're sitting around, watching Oprah or whatever. Suddenly, there's a knock on your door. You answer and there are a bunch of guys holdin...more
Becky
Unlike Fox News, this book doesn't claim to be "Fair and Balanced", though it still manages to come closer to that mark than Fox does. This isn't a book intended to be fair or show the big picture of the American political climate or whatever, this is a book intended to give voices to those who were victimized and murdered, over and over and over again.

As I listened to this book, I kept thinking back to that old adage that history is written by the victors. And it's true. Look at all the old We...more
dead letter office
there's so much history, and so many names and dates and places, that i feel like i don't remember much in detail (i have no mind for that stuff), but the underlying story is the same in every case. misunderstanding and betrayal and chauvanism and savagery and death. over and over these indian civilizations were reduced to small bands of young men, forced into the hills and fighting hopeless guerrilla wars against the american army after all the others had been killed or pushed onto reservations...more
Mike
Like many other reviewers I had a difficult time reading the book because, if you are capable of having empathy for native amercians, it causes one to re-think what you thought you've always known about American history and the values of our Christian European ancestors.

If you aren't capable of empathy, don't waste your time. You are right, you know you are right, and in your mind "the only good indian is a dead indian". But if you can consider the Chinese, for example, landing on American shore...more
Adrian
Aug 02, 2007 Adrian rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: e v e r y o n e
this is a tough one to read at times.
however, if you're an American you have
a responsibility to read it. it is a harsh
history lesson and i was in tears at the end
of the first page.

dont think any other book has made me curse
out loud like this one has.

i dare you to read it. i dare you NOT to be moved.
Runningfox
Aug 28, 2007 Runningfox rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Absolutely Yes
This is one of my all time favorite books and I have read it many times..It made a difference in my life..
David
Apparantly "all men are created equal" left out the bit in brackets that said (unless you are a member of an Indian tribe). A detailed ride across the West using archive material that tells a very different story of how the West was won than any cowboy film does. The rapid spread west of an ever increasing white population hungry for land to build a home, allied to a sense that Indian tribes were inferior and savage, saw the erosion of hunting lands and the desecration of the great buffalo herds...more
Eileen Dougherty
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monica
Jun 19, 2010 Monica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: every American-every European!
I've owned a hard cover copy of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee since 1971. I started to read it but couldn't concentrate because I started college, had other required reading, and life went on in other directions.

By good fortune, last September, a friend and I drove out west -- around the southern tip of Lake Michigan, northwest on 94, across Illinois, up to route 90 in southern Wisconsin (the Wisconsin Dells were awesome) -- straight along the southern boundary of Minnesota into South Dakota whe...more
Erin
May 24, 2007 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: EVERYONE
This is such a fabulous book. I think it should be required reading for high schoolers... NEVER are Native Americans presented in history classes in their own (highly articulate!) words. This book made me cry while reading it in the subway, and I was depressed for a good time after finishing. I'm excited for the upcoming HBO series even though I don't have HBO... maybe I can invest in it just for the week the feature is on? Read this book. I wish I could give it more than five stars!
Matt
Written in the 1970s, Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee remains a popular, relevant history of the Plains Indians. This is saying a lot. Aside from vague knowledge of Custer, and perhaps a viewing or two of Dances With Wolves, I'd venture that most Americans don't know or care much about this story. That makes sense, since it's never fun to think about the genocide committed by your ancestors.

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is styled as an Indian history of the American west. It's told fr...more
Richard
Dee Brown, Head Librarian at the University of Illinois, has written a number of histories and novels with the American West and Civil War as his main themes, dated both before and after he wrote "Bury My Heart" while in his 60's. Almost 40 years after its first printing, this book is still in print. It shows that the common perceptions of the "winning of the West" have been based on a flawed viewpoint, since they do not represent a winning proposition for all Americans. Brown writes from an alt...more
El
The whites told only one side. Told it to please themselves. Told much that is not true. Only his own best deeds, only the worst deeds of the Indians, has the white man told.
—Yellow Wolf of the Nez Percés

In school most of us read what was in our textbooks which, for all intents and purposes, were written by white men. In school we learned early on that the pilgrims shook hands with the Native Americans and they all sat down together and shared food. In school they'd have us dress up as pilgrims...more
Jen
I love this book. Definitely a history book and definitely more sympathetic to Native Americans (although in my opinion they deserve it), it's the history of the "conquering" of the West and the last Indian tribes to go onto reservations and cease to control land. Sometimes this book can get confusing, for example now that it's been about a year since I've read it I can't always remember which people are associated with which conflict but this book is definitely worth a read. It is especially go...more
Amy
This book is very educational and eye-opening, but it's dang hard to get through. The writing is rather dry, but with a subject such as this, of course it's going to be a heavy read. It's one of those books that everyone should read so they know what really happened, but it's not the easiest to get through. I would never have finished if it hadn't been a book discussion pick.
Steve
I grew up with a fascination with native American history. In grade school I wished I could be part "Indian", but settled for being able to name many of the tribes that once roamed freely across the US. (I can't do that anymore.) My father passed on to me the Louis L'Amour western books he read (of which the Sackett series is a great read), fueling my interest. Rarely do I encounter non-mythological stories about these diverse cultures. This book is the BEST historical reference told in a storyl...more
David Fox
Unforgivable Sins

Bury My Heart, published in 1970, during the height of the Viet Nam War & civil rights movement, galvanized a nation, making it acutely aware of the gross injustices perpetrated against the Indian People in the 19th century. The timing was such that it underscored our nation's history of abusing it's non-white people, not to mention, the true legitimate citizens of this continent. I had known of this book for many years & had always assumed that it was written by either...more
B3tt3 Booklover


I first read this at Uni a long time ago; a factual and disturbing book, it pierced my conscience. I decided to read it again to see if my reaction to it had changed over the years. This book broke my heart back then and it has just broken my heart again. There were many times when I just put it aside and cried. The awfulness is that this is a true account of the methodical annihilation of the American Indian. Throw away your ideas gleaned from 'cowboys and indian' movies. This is an account of...more
DaveHalligan
This book was absolutely groundbreaking in its time. The first history book about the Indian Wars written from the Indian side this book revolutionised the way people viewed the Native Americans. Before this book they were viewed as simple, uncivilised savages after this they were seen as an honourable people who have had suffer injustice after injustice from their first contact with the white man. From the trail of tears to the massacre of Wounded Knee this book vividly describes these injustic...more
lisa jahnel
Aug 09, 2007 lisa jahnel rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: history enthusiasts, social activists, everyone
Shelves: history
My passion for Native American history and the culture that all the different tribes possess was only increased by this book. Though it is not published by a university, it is still a credible source for what really happened the many tribes that once roamed our land. Even the most cold hearted individual will find themselves outraged when they read of the treatment of indigenous people who were just trying to preserve their culture. It is an incredible book that doesn't show the "happy history"...more
Fiachna
A terrific but heart-breaking book. It tells the buried story of the genocide of the Native Americans and shows how its always the victors who write history.
It also becomes apparent that history repeats itself and that the american administration is still making the same mistakes now as it was then.....
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Dorris Alexander “Dee” Brown (1908–2002) was a celebrated author of both fiction and nonfiction, whose classic study Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is widely credited with exposing the systematic destruction of American Indian tribes to a world audience. Brown was born in Louisiana and grew up in Arkansas. He worked as a reporter and a printer before enrolling at Arkansas State Teachers College, wh...more
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“To the Indians it seemed that these Europeans hated everything in nature - the living forests and their birds and beasts, the grassy grades, the water, the soil, the air itself.” 18 likes
“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.” 11 likes
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