Bob's Reviews > Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides
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's review
Dec 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, 4-star, non-fiction, depressing
Read in October, 2011

I lived in New Mexico for about 14 years and didn't know any of this history. Fascinating. I'm glad I had a dictionary,, and Google Earth on my iPad as references. I had to read a county library hardcover edition as there is no eBook edition out yet. "Blood and Thunder" is not like most books I read which I can practically speed read through. You know the ones; real page turners, lots of dialogue, short paragraphs and chapters, with words everybody knows. Here is a list of just a few of the words I had to look up and will probably never see again: concatenate, pedant, prig, apochryphal, dudgeon, hardihood, bloviate, noblesse, obdurate, deracinate, hegira. If I had no interest in the people, places, or the history, this book would have been even harder to read.
About three-quarters of the way through I could have cried my own trail of tears. Sure there were many years of peace between Indian tribes, the Spanish, and even many of the early American settlers. It is only through hindsight that we can get close to the timeline of events, but, the reasons why can only be opinions. It's no different now. People of disparate cultures and differing beliefs about nearly everything are going to clash.
The onslaught of dreamers of "greener pastures", or nuggets of gold lying out west (just take the Santa Fe Trail) could never have been held back. That would be like trying stop a tsunami by simply holding up your hand. This was Manifest Destiny. It was God's will. Wasn't it?
History just seems to keep repeating itself. Only the names and places change. Simply swap Israeli and Palestinian or Anglo-American and any American Indian tribe. Or look at Manuelito and Osama bin Laden. There are just so many similarities between those earlier times and the world we live in today.


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