• Tecumseh and the Prophet

  • The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation
  • By: Peter Cozzens
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 19 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (83 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than 20 years, and the first to make clear that his misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was an equal partner in the last great pan-Indian alliance against the United States.

Until the Americans killed Tecumseh in 1813, he and his brother Tenskwatawa were the co-architects of the broadest pan-Indian confederation in United States history. In previous accounts of Tecumseh's life, Tenskwatawa has been dismissed as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award-winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was a brilliant diplomat and war leader - admired by the same white Americans he opposed - it was Tenskwatawa, called the "Shawnee Prophet", who created a vital doctrine of religious and cultural revitalization that unified the disparate tribes of the Old Northwest. Detailed research of Native American society and customs provides a window into a world often erased from history books and reveals how both men came to power in different but no less important ways.

Cozzens brings us to the forefront of the chaos and violence that characterized the young American Republic, when settlers spilled across the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the British in the War of Independence, disregarding their rightful Indian owners. Tecumseh and the Prophet presents the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat - the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.

©2020 Peter Cozzens (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Biography

A Washington Independent Review Favorite Book

A Cowboys and Indians Editor's Pick 

"Cozzens expertly mines the surprisingly varied array of sources for the brothers’ early lives; he presents the fullest picture yet of who these men were before they achieved national fame. His book balances them more than any previous retelling of the story ever has. Tecumseh and the Prophet is as close to a fully realized popular biography of Tenkswatawa as is ever likely to be written … Tecumseh and the Prophet paints in vivid colors the grandest effort of Native Americans to retain their independence – and the political and spiritual leaders who tried to make it happen.”
⁠—Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor

"This... is no sentimental paean to an innocent martyr, no simplistic homage to a “noble savage”... Cozzens is a master storyteller; his books weave a wealth of intricate detail into gripping historical narrative... In this book descriptions of battles are especially enthralling; one can almost smell the gunpowder, the blood and the loamy forest floor."
⁠—Gerard DeGroot, The Times (UK) 

"Tecumseh and the Prophet is a thorough profile of the notable Tecumseh and his Brother. Author Peter Cozzens sculpts his narrative deftly and compellingly. In relating the barbarity of the frontier wars, the author remains objective yet empathetic. Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa are fascinating figures, capable of greatness and leadership, yet destined for tragedy. A+ work."
⁠—Philip Zozzaro, San Francisco Book Review 

What listeners say about Tecumseh and the Prophet

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent. Good companion to other Tecumseh bios

Peter Cozzens brings new depth to the life of Tecumseh and his brother with this work. He points out correctly that other Tecumseh biographies tend to focus mainly on the famous chief while relegating his brother to a minor role. Having recently read Tecumseh: A life by John Sugden, I came away with the sense that the prophet became irrelevant before the War of 1812. This book shows how that wasn’t the case, and though it’s duel focus on both brothers, manages to tell a more complete story of their pan-Indian movement that started as religious, then evolved to include political and military aims. For me it was interesting to learn more about the prophet after the Battle of Tippecanoe: his continued role in the Indian confederacy, and his slow decent into obscurity after his brother’s death. Some finer points about Tecumseh are explored in more detail as well: in particular his belief in his brother’s connection to the great spirit and their relationship over the course of their movement.

I definitely recommend Tecumseh and the Prophet to anyone interested in this period and these brothers. It’s an easy listen with only a few native names mispronounced, and it has only deepened my knowledge of my favorite period in American history.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent view into the period.

Lengthy, but very thorough. Good portrayal of the War of 1812 in the then, "American West."

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Meh

Another woke Author who can’t help himself but to write white man bad, Indian good.

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Excellent historical narrative.

Wanted to know more about Tecumseh and the
Shawnee and was not disappointed. America is a country that should be utterly ashamed of its history and mistreatment of native and African peoples. This country has NOTHING to be proud of.

Highly recommend this read for anyone who is not afraid of the truth.