• Wounded Knee

  • Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre
  • By: Heather Cox Richardson
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (148 ratings)

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Wounded Knee

By: Heather Cox Richardson
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
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Publisher's Summary

On December 29, 1890, American troops opened fire with howitzers on hundreds of unarmed Lakota Sioux men, women, and children near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, killing nearly 300 Sioux. As acclaimed historian Heather Cox Richardson shows in Wounded Knee, the massacre grew out of a set of political forces all too familiar to us today: fierce partisanship, heated political rhetoric, and an irresponsible, profit-driven media.

Richardson tells a dramatically new story about the Wounded Knee massacre, revealing that its origins lay not in the West but in the corridors of political power back East. Politicians in Washington, Democrat and Republican alike, sought to set the stage for mass murder by exploiting an age-old political tool: fear.

Assiduously researched and beautifully written, Wounded Knee will be the definitive account of an epochal American tragedy.

©2010 Heather Cox Richardson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Richardson describes the collision of incompetence, political posturing, and military might with elegant prose and the right blend of outrage and humanity, subtly highlighting the parallels between the disastrous partisanship of the late 19th century and the politics of today." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Wounded Knee

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  • Overall
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Is that your land? If not, i'm taking it.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The best line in the book is the quote from the 1877 Supreme Court ruling in Beecher v. Wetherby, where the Court stated that when dealing with Indians, "[i]t is to be presumed that ... the United States would be governed by such considerations of justice as would control a Christian people in their treatment of an ignorant and dependent race."

Going into this book with a lot of misconceptions about this area of American history, the book was a real eye opener. With the Indians, they got shafted at every turn, from the federal government, right down to the citizens, and no matter how they tried to play their hand, they lost. The sad thing was, they got all the considerations of justice a Christian people could give them, and then some.

I've come to conclude that you can't avoid history repeating itself by learning from it, but rather, simply learn that history repeats itself. This book is interesting because it could be dropped it in at different points in American history, change a few names and groups, or substitute lands with gold in it to lands with oil in it, and it would read just like a book written for that time period.

What should we learn from this book? If you are an indigenous person, never make an agreement with the American federal government; public schools are used to control free people; no matter what horrendous acts the military commits, the people will make heroes out of it; the only good use for a federally-created report, created during a large investigation into an event, is to cut the report into 4-inch-wide strips, tape the pieces together end-to-end, roll it up around a cardboard tube, and hung on the wall for use as toilet paper.

Given the time-period of the book, it is also clear that the people, both government and citizens, set the stage for what we see today when we look our windows. Rather than it all being the result of just an over-reaching federal government, it is clear that the citizens had their hands in on it as well. The westerners, by actively campaigning for an end to the gold standard, pretty much handed us fiat money and the Federal Reserve system just a handful of decades down the road from the massacre at Wounded Knee. As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

In the Bible, the Israelites demanded a king from Samuel, and were given Saul, who turned out to be exactly the kind of king they deserved at the time. As we approach federal elections and our choice is between Obama and Romney, reading "Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre," explains why, in 2012, we ended up with exactly the type of leadership we deserve as a nation.

9 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

One of the best books on the 19th C West I've read. Very skillfully places events and people in their national context while giving a high level of on the ground detail.

5 people found this helpful

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Great book, substandard narrator

I love Professor Richardson’s books. While the events took place more than a century ago, there are things that are relevant today: tariffs, religion, etc.

The thing that really bothers me about the book is the narrator. And this seems to be a reflection of all books associated with Audible. I assume these narrators get paid a pretty penny to narrate a book. Do they not read the book before hand or go over difficult words or proper nouns, and learn to pronounce them correctly??? In most cases, the answer seems to be no. Does the narrators fee get cut if they can’t pronounce a name correctly?? If not, I think they should start. The narrator could not pronounce Wahsatch correctly. The pronunciation of Missouri sound a lot like “misery.” If he is unable to pronounce these words correctly, how do we know that the Native American words are correct.
And with this narrator it seems like he has an asthma problem. I feel like I have to purchase the physical book and then follow along as he narrates because it seems like he runs out of air or gas or both and then has to inhale just to complete a sentence. It seems to happen quite often during the middle third of the book. Does anybody pay attention to the finished product once the narrator is complete?? In the case of this book, probably not.
I imagine that Audible will not publish my review. That’s okay. I just want to make a point that the narrator is a key part of the audio book. For example, Bronson Pinchot may have a talent for using foreign accents, but don’t do it with an audiobook. If he is a narrator, I won’t purchase the book.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Just one more inexcusable behavior pattern

European ancestors are shameful. Wounded knee tells a sad story. Students of history need to know this

2 people found this helpful

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Time is a flat circle

No one brings American history into sharp relief like Heather Cox Richardson. The parallels between the Gilded Age and Trump's America cannot be understated and there are abundant lessons to be learned in this epic story of corruption and tragedy.

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in-depth

historical Midwest puppeteered by entangled strings headed back east

segments so interesting you'll want to make a note or even quickly do some research

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Tragic conflict of US & Sioux is Compelling story!

What made the experience of listening to Wounded Knee the most enjoyable?

This is not the type of book where one can use the word "enjoyable" to describe any aspect of this book. The anecdotes of the few Americans displaying kindness towards, or understanding of, the Lakota Sioux are notable by their scarcity.

Any additional comments?

The book's description of the historical and political events of the 1880's gave an interesting backdrop to the situation that led the US cavalry being sent to disarm the Lakota Sioux. The widespread misunderstanding of the ghost dance movement, and a heavy-handed attitude towards the native American tribes, created the conditions where the US cavalry over-reacted to an incident that led to the Wounded Knee massacre.
The story of this massacre is certainly a sad, and embarrassing episode in US History.

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Read Chapter 8 twice

Excellent book. Think hard about Chapter 8 amd its ramifications for America. "This Jesus you speak of sounds like an Indian."

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Heartbreaking and infuriating history

Heather Cox Richardson documents the events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee and likely changes the story from what you've heard in the past. Jonathan Davis does an excellent job of narration, but be aware that this book and story are complex (many characters and parallel timelines), so I found myself rewinding to listen to parts over again, to make sure I understood what was happening. Especially helpful are Richardson's efforts to examine the local and national newspapers to provide the news and viewpoints of the day, providing not I only the documentation from government records, but the public opinion. worth listening to if you want to know more about the development of the northern plains states and the repercussions of the taking of native lands.

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Essential Reading for American History Buffs

Heather Cox Richardson has captured the essence of the partisan greed and evil of President Benjamin Harrison not only towards the Sioux tribes but also towards the one percenters of the gilded age.

If you think Trump is the worst President of the US, Harrison's incompetence and lack of American values reflects in every action.

Must read for American History buffs.