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American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  13 reviews
As the year 1890 wound to a close, a band of more than three hundred Lakota Sioux Indians led by Chief Big Foot made their way toward South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation to join other Lakotas seeking peace. Fearing that Big Foot’s band was headed instead to join “hostile” Lakotas, U.S. troops surrounded the group on Wounded Knee Creek. Tensions mounted, and on the mornin ...more
Hardcover, 620 pages
Published April 10th 2014 by University of Oklahoma Press
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Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"It was a war of extermination now with the troopers. It was difficult to restrain…Tactics were almost abandoned. About the only tactic was to kill while it could be done whenever an Indian could be seen. Down into the creek and up over the bare hills [the Indians] were followed by artillery and musketry fire, and for several minutes, the engagement went on, until not a live Indian was in sight..."
- Correspondent for the Omaha Bee, December 30, 1890

Fate, it seems, decreed that the American India
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wounded-knee
This is the best book on Wounded Knee that I have ever read, and I've read most all of them.

This is an absolutely masterful work of historical research and reporting. Jerome A. Greene took on the highly controversial subject of the Wounded Knee tragedy, often a visceral historical topic that a century and a quarter later continues to evoke raw emotion. Deftly walking a line between government accounts depicting Wounded Knee as a battle and those Lakota accounts describing it as a brutal massacre
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Greene has written the most detailed and richly documented account of the last of the major massacres of Indians at the hands of the American military (the 7th Cavalry, no less). Living in South Dakota, it is hard not to be aware of what happened at Wounded Knee (or of what happened at the end of the Dakota War, for that matter). There is much to regret about the event, but Greene makes it clear that the massacre was not planned by the military. (Many of the massacres in the West were the work o ...more
Rachel Jackson
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am filled with rage, fury, sadness and heartbreak after reading Jerome Greene's American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890. Predictably, based on its title, this book is a rollercoaster of outrage and despair for the plight of the Lakota Native Americans during the U.S. army's active campaign to wipe them out and subjugate them. The book is a very detailed account of army actions in the prior year or two before the massacre occurred, chronicling sentiment of how white officials wanted to get rid of ...more
Kristi Thielen
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Magnificent book about the Wounded Knee Massacre. I read Rex Alan Smith's "Moon of Popping Trees" long ago and have lived in South Dakota all my life, so I was familiar with the subject matter. Greene's book provided me with much that I had not learned before.

In addition to its meticulous study of the events leading up to the massacre, and the event itself, there is a great deal of information about the immediate aftermath of Wounded Knee, such as the White Clay Creek Fight.

The book also inclu
Wesley Roth
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This summer I won, from the South Dakota Festival of Books, a copy of Jerome A. Greene's comprehensive account of the nation's last frontier massacre, Wounded Knee. The hefty tome, which as the author describes as the first full account of Wounded Knee to appear in more than fifty years. Historian Greene does an incredible job providing the reader a pretty thorough history of the Native American tribes in the Midwest and the consistent conflict with the settlers moving west and the federal gover ...more
Oliver Bogler
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
American Carnage is a challenging book and ultimately rewarding. It is a meticulous history that provides both deep contexts for the Wounded Knee massacre and a detailed exploration of events. It is even-handed in sources, and unbiased and unflinching in its analysis. I struggled in part because of this, as the author is scrupulous in avoiding almost completely the telling of a story, and instead presents facts and reports from participants, witnesses and documents. This makes the reader work ha ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well cited and although it almost reads as a text book it is by no means dense and includes many “human” anecdotes to help with the flow of the narrative. Also due to how scholarly it feels, you might get the impression that the author is almost siding with the U.S Army but I think this is incidental due to the need of using government reports. The author cites many interviews from Native Americans to especially dispute the idea that Wounded Knee was not a battle, but a massacre. This is closer ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many years ago I read,Dee Brown's,Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. That book made the best seller list.
Jerome A. Greene's,New book on Wounded Knee,is a much more detailed and starts long before 1890.
His book is very objective and in that is enlightening.
You ride with the U.S. Army as they move on the Pine Ridge and then you get the Sioux side of that time in our history.

I highly recommend American Carnage,Wounded Knee 1890
Eric Graves
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely well-written and well balanced point of view. It’s is a true work of historical art. I would recommend this to many. At times it can be slow and slightly overwhelming with information (I took 76 pages of notes) but it’s all good.
Brad Butturff
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt, the definitive history of the events leading up, during and around the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. Jerome Greene is already a well respected historian of the Plains Indian Wars. I've read a number of his books but this one stands out. He does not take sides, he does an admirable job of presenting each perspective on this violent tragedy. He does not blame the Army though he does point out the military decisions that influenced events. He also plainly shows that the Lakota themse ...more
Mills College Library
973.86 G8112 2014
Raimo Wirkkala
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author's exhaustive research and attention to detail inform every page of this excellent account of one of the darkest of all the dark episodes of America's history with her native peoples.

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