Posted: Oct. 7, 2013

The Heart of Everything That Is by Bob Drury  In the bestselling tradition of Empire of the Summer Moon, this is the untold story of Red Cloud, the most powerful Indian commander of the Plains who witnessed the opening of the West.

The great Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud was the only Plains Indian to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the American government to sue for peace in a conflict named for him. At the peak of their chief’s powers, the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States. But unlike Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, or Geronimo, the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to painstaking research by two award-winning authors, his incredible story can finally be told.

Born in 1821 in what is now Nebraska, Red Cloud grew up an orphan who overcame myriad social disadvantages to advance in Sioux culture. Through fearless raids against neighboring tribes, like the Crow and Pawnee, he acquired a reputation as the best leader of his fellow warriors, catapulting him into the Sioux elite—and preparing him for the epic struggle his nation would face with an expanding United States. Drawing on a wealth of evidence that includes Red Cloud’s 134-page autobiography, lost for nearly a hundred years, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin bring their subject to life again in a narrative that climaxes with Red Cloud’s War—a conflict whose massacres presaged the Little Bighorn and ensured Red Cloud’s place in the pantheon of Native American legends.

A story as big as the West, with portraits of General William Tecumsah Sherman, explorer John Bozeman, mountain man Jim Bridger, Red Cloud protégé Crazy Horse, and many others, The Heart of Everything That Is not only places you at the center of the conflict over western expansion, but finally gives our nation’s greatest Indian war leader the modern-day recognition he deserves.


Let me say this was a great book. The untold story of Red Cloud is truly a history lesson on the old west but also on guerrilla warfare. But the story begins with Red Cloud as a young boy whose father dies by drinking to death. Not honorable in the Tribe. But a leader takes him in and helps him in the young warrior ways. What is seen is a keen skill in hunting and tracking. He is able to bring in large amounts and he takes care of the older ones in Tribe and sick ones. By this time he is allowed to be around the leaders. He is there for one of the very first treaties signed. He of course cannot say anything or do anything. Some of the things he does take in is the weapons the army had and how they drilled. For a show of power the army fired a cannon. He thought two things. First one shot could take out a lot of braves but in the time it took them to reload they could attack and kill them before the next shot. As he moved into his 20's his racking continued to grow in the Tribe. He was also becoming well known around other Tribes, they were afraid of him as well. He could hunt, plan attacks on other Tribes and do all of this as a team with the other braves that followed him. He continued to rise in power and he continued to see the decline of the buffalo and other animals. Lands that were agreed on were now being overrun. Other Tribes were being killed by troops. By the time of the end of the civil war he was now chief. He married into the family. Now treaties did not matter like they did any way. The government needed money after the war so when gold was discovered it did not matter where. They sent the 18 build a fort in one of the places they said they would not. To Red Cloud this was the last straw this was scarred ground. He was able to unite 7 Tribes which is amazing and then get them to fight as a unit. They attacked an attachment from Fort Kearney. They had been watching them for weeks. They attacked once wiped out the first part and when the reinforcements showed up they wiped them out as well. The next day what was left at the fort went out to see what was left. After this the fort was closed down for about 8mos. He then started back with the attacks not just on this fort but on two others as well. He would also attack two forts at the same time. During this time is when Custer was killed with his men. The Army or Dep. or the Dept. of the Army. Issued new Springfield ripping rifles, on the next attack that Red Cloud made on the fort he lost over 100 braves. He now saw that they had no way of defeating that rifle. He brought his people, his Tribe to a reservation in Montana, where he lived out his remaining days. His battles against the Army are truly things of work of art. Now our snipers are trained to blend into the land around them, get close to the enemy without being seen. Just some of the things we now do from the Indians. Red Cloud is still the only Chief that has ever claim victory over the United States. One last thought the fight against the Indians or indigenous people, the single most continuous war, over 300 years. A great book. I got this from Net Galley.

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