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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  46,968 Ratings  ·  2,584 Reviews
The “fascinating” #1 New York Times bestseller that awakened the world to the destruction of American Indians in the nineteenth-century West (The Wall Street Journal).

First published in 1970, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee generated shockwaves with its frank and heartbreaking depiction of the systematic annihilation of American Indian tribes across the western frontier.
Kindle Edition, 481 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Open Road (first published April 1970)
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Tarah Hi- 2 years late, but I had the same question (so maybe you'll get the update that I've responded). I had serious problems placing events (being both…moreHi- 2 years late, but I had the same question (so maybe you'll get the update that I've responded). I had serious problems placing events (being both generally bad at geography and at remembering things). So I went through and MADE annotations to maps wherever I could. I've shared it on a Google Doc. If folks find any others, please let me know!
Augusto Delgado Will try again. It was too tragic for me the first time, after a couple of chapters had to put it down heartbroken in pain and angered. Anyone feel…moreWill try again. It was too tragic for me the first time, after a couple of chapters had to put it down heartbroken in pain and angered. Anyone feel the same?(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The "land of the free" is no longer "the home of the brave.""

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
Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
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
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, race
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
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matt by: Mariah
Dee Brown takes the reader on a thorough and quite disheartening journey through the military and political journey to settle the Western frontier of the United States of America. There is much within this piece of non-fiction that pushes the boundaries and Brown does not hold back in his delivery. The central premise of the book is to explore many of the Indian (and I use this term, as it is peppered throughout by Brown, though I acknowledge is a derogatory term in Canada) settlements and the g ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mariah by: Matt
I read this book for the Goodreads' book club Diversity In All Forms! If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link:

I also read this as a buddy read with Matt :)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was extremely heartbreaking, because it was so truthful. This book is told in story form. However, the author got his information from using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions.

The stories range from multiple different tr
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, Dee Alexander Brown
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West is a 1970 book by American writer Dee Brown that covers the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century. The book expresses details of the history of American expansionism from a point of view that is critical of its effects on the Native Americans. Brown describes Native Americans' displacement through
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Usually you can take with a pinch of salt what’s quoted on the back cover of books but in this case when the New York Times says “Impossible to put down” they hit the nail on the head. Quite simply a masterpiece of conscientious research and organisational artistry. Dee Brown provides an immensely sympathetic account of the plight of many Indian tribes as the wheels of progress arrived to wipe out their lifestyle, if not their culture. You could say Brown is too sympathetic but then for a people
Dec 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
B the BookAddict

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
aPriL does feral sometimes
It is very possible you learned in school about the depravities of the Nazis towards the Jews, homosexuals, Russian and Polish prisoners, intellectuals and the mentally disabled before and during World War II. Perhaps you believe the Nazis invented the arts of genocide. We all know, too, that ultimately the Nazis failed, as there are still Jews, Russians and Poles.

Missing or elided over in many of our history textbooks and education, there actually was an American genocide which occurred before
Feb 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 this from a modern day context.


- One day, you're sitting around, watching Oprah or whatever. Suddenly, there's a knock on your door. You answer and the
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What stood out for me in this book? First, so many promises made. So many promises broken. The hunger of white settlers and greedy men interested in the Indians' lands, and later, their reservation lands. It saddens the heart to read all that was done, the lies spoken, and the killing committed to obtain these lands.

Second,the destruction of the buffalo. Their carcases left to rot on the open plains angers the soul at the waste. All committed to (1) furnish the commercial markets and (2) destro
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-nations
I was surprised by this book. It has a quality of immediacy that I did not expect, and that makes it read more like a novel than any kind of history. If Brown has smoothed out the narration of the evidence with poetic license and surmise, then I commend that work highly, because it makes that evidence, which, I think, needs to be read and taught and known, highly accessible.

The book is structured quite naturally into chapters organised to facilitate reading, retelling and discussing a particular
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-us
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
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I will keep it simple since I can’t seem to come up with anything to say, or more accurately, find the right word combo to say it with.

This book incites a powerhouse of emotions: anger, remorse, loss, outrage, sadness, disgust…

Notice how I left off the and? That’s because there are so many more words you can add to that list, which is why I have struggled with how to say what needs said. I had to put this book down so many times to allow my mind time to process the horror I felt after reading ea
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Wayne Barrett

This is a tough one to review. Not because it isn't a good book, the writing and the details in the historical events provided is exceptional. It's tough because I believe I am just emotionally exhausted by the amount of similar stories I have digested in the last year. Late last year I read "Blood and Thunder", early this year I finished "Trail of Tears", and at this time, even though it is fiction (it is historical fiction) I am re-reading "Blood Meridian". It is so much information that I rea
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this, even though it was about a tragic part of American history. I walked into this nonfiction book expecting a history report of sorts. While it was that, I was so happy that it wasn't dry. This was fascinating and the narrator of the audio version, did a fabulous job.

It was interesting to see this part of American History from the Native American perspective. Their story is heartbreaking and sad, but absolutely necessary to read and to understand. I firmly believe that when people
Ali Frz
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ناتمام
کتاب زیبایی بود
واقعه ای که در ووندد نی اتفاق افتاده، بلا تشبیه، نوعی «کربلای سرخپوستی» محسوب میشه
تا وسطاش خوندم ولی یادم نیست چرا نیمه تمام ماند
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
Esmerelda Weatherwax
This is one of the more famous novels which recounts the tales of the Native Americans suffering through the loss of their homes, lives, and cultures. This book took me a long time to get through, and not because it was a bad book, or boring, but because it was so difficult to read through.

I was adopted off of a reservation out in Iowa because my mother and her family were so destitute they couldn't afford to take on a child, many Natives living in modern times are living in squalor, with alcoh
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
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book! Hard to read in many places. My blond, blue-eyed husband let out a "whoo hoo," though, when Little Big Horn ended! In full disclosure, I am more than 1/16 Native American.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee reveals a sordid little truth about human beings: they have a great capacity to be cruel, to be prejudiced against someone not like themselves, and to justify any kind of horrid behavior with a logic that defies belief. Having just read The Narrow Road to the Deep North, it would have been easy to say, “How could the Japanese be so cruel and inhuman?” And, how often have we asked that same question about the Germans toward the Jews, or Southerners against their blac ...more
Sean Wilson
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Look at me. I was raised on this land where the sun rises- now I come from where the sun sets. Whose voice was first sounded on this land? The voice of the red people who had but bows and arrows." Red Cloud

"Every American should read this." Being from Scotland, I can't really say much else apart from the fact that it is very true: Every American should read this. Just like every Russian should read The Gulag Archipelago. These kind of books are important because it gives us a further understand
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
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
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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
More about Dee Brown

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“Nothing lives long
Only the earth and mountains”
“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.” 59 likes
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