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Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides

An American West biography in the middle 1800s centered around the Navajos and Kit Carson. Carson’s life – how he learned to deal with the Western Indians – detect an ambush, when to fight, when to bluff, when to flee, when to negotiate… a mountain man he lived with Indians, fought alongside and against them, loved them, married them. While the Navajo were the most ‘American’ of the American Indians—immigrants, mongrels, mobile, restless, preferring to spread out as far as possible from one another over large parts of the country while remaining within boundaries of their land. They adopted other cultures, taking what they liked and adapting it to their own needs. Carson was loyal to a fault- to Fremont, General Kearny, Indians… and was always game to do his job honorably. He thrived on focused, small-scale undertakings with huge stakes involved with no room for error… and the vast majority of the time he delivered. The Navajos were curious about the Americans – their clothes and goods, and would quite frequently barter for their buckles, buttons, forks, straps, etc. While Washington’s (govt) goal in their Navajo expeditions was to show their might of their army and compel them to sign a lasting treaty, to have them change their ancient ways. A treaty was eventually signed and both parties worked to make a lasting home for the Navajos on land and weather that was doomed from the start for 5 years. Eventually another treaty was signed and the Navajos began moving toward what they hoped was a brighter future of being left alone to be who they are and one with the earth. An epic tale, extensively researched… with a bite out of what it was like in the American West and a pivotal era of that time.


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