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The Trail of Tears: The Story of the American Indian Removals 1813-1855
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The Trail of Tears: The Story of the American Indian Removals 1813-1855

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In this poignant and powerful book, Gloria Jahoda makes use of hitherto unpublished sources to relate in unprecedented depth and detail the history of Indian courage in the face of white expansion during the first half of the nineteenth century. She describes the violence, the wars, the meaningless treaties and political double-dealing that spread from Washington to the fr ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published 1995 by Wings (first published 1975)
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Peter Talbot This brief heavily anecdotal, riveting account from the native American point of view (heavy with Cherokee, Choctaw, Seneca and other Eastern Tribes t…moreThis brief heavily anecdotal, riveting account from the native American point of view (heavy with Cherokee, Choctaw, Seneca and other Eastern Tribes that predate the Plains Indians so stereotyped in Westerns is heart-breaking but even tempered (!) indictment of all white folks, the "Great Fathers" like Jacksa Chula Harjo (Cherokee for "Jackson the Hard-ass") is the book to read if you want to feel, hear, suffer the Trail of Tears. Horrible to pick up. Impossible to put down. (less)

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Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have long been aware that the United States was founded on slavery and genocide.

However, this book in focusing on a brief 42 year period, greatly expanded my understanding of US treatment of Native people. The Trail of Tears was not "merely" the story of the removal of the Cherokee people, it was the story of dozens and dozens of tribes and nations.

It was the story of white supremacy, greed and incredible theft and dishonesty.

Besides revealing the evil of successive US presidents and their u
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Danielle Apple
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a hard read for me. Not just because of the vast amount of information to be processed that jumped around a little much, or because of the horrible things people did to each other, but also because of what I found. I was researching for a book and to get clues about where my supposed ancestors came from. I didn't find anything particularly obvious but I did find a different ancestor, completely out if the blue. He was in charge of one if the removals. I had very mixed feelings about it, ...more
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nicely written historical account--I found it hard to put down but hard to pick up at the same time because of the sadness of the story. Something I think I never quite grasped before is that in many cases the Indians were quite integrated into white life--they lived in houses, kept livestock, and tended fields...even owned slaves. They'd often converted to Christianity. Some fought back of course (Black Hawk is one I'm familiar with, having gone to college in the same area), but often they just ...more
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
As I have noted in the past, I have a tough time with non-fiction. Although the subject matter made this one difficult to handle (turns out most of our early Presidents were somewhere on the spectrum between malicious racist and genocidal a**hole), Jahoda's rich storytelling makes the facts come alive. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in the history of the U.S.' relationship with Native American tribes. I guess I knew it was horrific before I picked up this book, but know ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Even though I was well versed in the story of this American tragedy this book added some thought provoking context and dimension.
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is prose written like poetry. What a great story-teller. A broad-brush approach to the story of the American Indian removals from North to South and East to West.
Karen Koppy
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazingly good book that was sensitively written, as factual as possible considering the scarcity of accurate information regarding the Indian removals. The author's description of the powerful chiefs and their dedication to their tribes was moving. She covered the good and the bad people that participated in the tragic removal of the proud Indian tribes. It's so horrible that our country cheated these innocent peoples by lying, stealing, encouraging alcohol, and literally starving t ...more
Gary Detrick
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Powerful book. Superbly detailed and covers all the different Indian Tribes from the northern to southern United States. Should be required reading in our schools. As a baby boomer, many of us grew up playing cowboys and Indians, unaware of the tragic and true events our nation pursued in growing our country. It's hard to put into words the disgust I felt as I read this and other publications, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", being just one of those.
Fortunately, there were those, of few, who did
Emily Dehmer
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an excellent book about a horrific and shameful time in U.S. history. Any American who ignorantly believes that Natives should have “gotten over it already” needs to read this book. If your people were cheated for generations, murdered, raped, starved, tortured, and literally hunted for sport, and no one in positions of power cared because they were enforcing it, I’m sure you’d have difficulty “getting over it” too. This book is a painful but necessary read, and I’m grateful to now be bette ...more
Peter Talbot
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Should be required secondary school reading, and should be read before Dee Brown's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" as the first book in the story of the American White Man's ethnic cleansing and property grab. It must be read to appreciate the Jackson and Van Buren era and to set the stage for the later predations against the Plains Indians on behalf of the iron horse as well as the states-rights pablum that justified the Civil War. Brilliantly written and soulful, and dependent on sources not n ...more
Lynne Belokopitsky
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t often quit a book, but I’m quitting this one. I found myself dreading reading it. Each chapter described a different tribe lied to by white people and dying as they headed West. It is disheartening and difficult to face that our nation was built on these lies. I’m glad to have a deeper understanding of the history of the Native Americans. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to finish this book.
Gary Hirsch
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a very educational book. Several people in our bookclub, including myself, thought that the trail of tears was a one time event similar to the Bataan death march, instead of something that occurred over several decades and involved many tribes.
The downside is that, in part, it is a difficult read due to all the different tribes and their leaders. Several people were not able to finish the book.
Jack Ippel
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So informative and well-written! Summary: How the US government screwed the American Indians at every point in our country's history. ...more
Doris Raines
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone that can patiently read an encyclopedia
Recommended to Bethany by: Librarian
This book was a beautiful piece of work. Although difficult at times to keep my attention set on every page, I felt like I was reading an encyclopedia more than once. It was a challege to put all 300+ pages away in a couple of weeks, but it was well worth the time. All in all it was a fascinating and detailed book that lets you voyage into what the trail of tears and the Indian removal act was about, the government involvement, the key players in the game, and how it built the ground for America ...more
Oct 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I learnt about the Trail of Tears at university and became fascinated. I have always admired native americans and wanted to read more about this sad part of their history. I have to say it was a tough read, very wordy and at times I got lost with how the book went from one place to another.
It was very sad at times and shocking, the brutality of the Americans was disgusting and disgraceful.
I would recommend anyone interested in American History at least reads one book about the Trail of Tears.
Michael Anderson
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you are interested in how the American Indian lost their lands and were pushed out of the Eastern US, this book will provide an intimate, detailed, anecdotal history of the tribes affected by the Removal Act of the 1830's. I was only familiar with the Cherokee and Seminole stories, but the tragedy was much broader in scale. Many tribes, much greed and racist disregard for the natives. It's a sad book, with a sameness to the stories of the forced travels out of the East and deaths, that become ...more
Jon Lawrence
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Trail of tears is surely an enlightening work though Jahoda has an annoying stylistic rhythm/cadence which makes it a burdensome read (a defect which I have not recognized in any other work).

If you choose only one book about the genocide and extermination of American Indians, I would recommend "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West" by Dee Brown, which is a masterpiece.
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
The inability of the European to recognize the wonder of other people and to learn from them and coexist appalls me! how horribly sad. I think that the British in Canada handled things better but they didn't- it was just different and both our nations are still dealing with some of the ramifications. ...more
Charlene Mathe
Jul 16, 2012 is currently reading it
Why did our new nation fail so dismally this first(?) test of our founding principles? I think the catastrophe of this era was eclipsed by the Civil War. Would we have behaved differently? What distinguished those who stood up in opposition, and how could they have been more effective? These are the questions I have that motivate my purchase of this book.
I attempted this after failing at 'Bury my heart at wounded knee', hoping I would find it more engaging, but I am ashamed to say that yet again I am sadly defeated. However, it has left me bereft of understanding at how Andrew Jackson made it onto the $20 bill; one of the great Native American chiefs would be an appropriate replacement. ...more
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the story of the american indian removals 1813 -1855. I did not realize there were so many different tribes and also different fractions within tribes. This is a very sad story. I feel for my ancestors. Did not know andrew jackson was such a shit.
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Good book, although I admit not usually the kind I like (it was pretty well a history book). I didn't read all of it, but what I did get brought back history lessons I had gotten in school. Such a tragic event. Its another eye opener. ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
A little hard to follow sometimes, but very interesting. In the Forward, the author explains that she tried to be an objective historian, but found it too difficult and failed. Considering the subject matter, I can see why.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: cecilia
This is really tough to read, but it really exposes the atrocities upon the native Americans (those who value people and use possessions versus those who value possesions and use people)!
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Jackson was not a great man, he decimated the southern tribes. A disturbing history of US policies - everyone should read this book.
Jan 29, 2010 added it
A chilling and demoralizing account of the ethnic cleansing of the eastern native nations. Sure beats the glossed over propaganda we were fed in public school.
Annette McMillan
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
made me cry, espeacially because i am half cherokee.
Lyle Deixler
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lyle
A horrifying examination of what happened to the native American Indians. Jahoda's research is excellent and you'll learn stuff never taught in high school or college history classes.
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