Kit’s Crit: The Earth Is Weeping (Peter Cozzens)

The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story Of The Indian Wars For The American West

(Peter Cozzens)

The Earth Is Weeping is one of the most comprehensive and well-written accounts of the American Indian Wars of 1861-1891.  Peter Cozzens’ impeccably-researched, objective portrayal of the acts of bravery and incomprehensible atrocities committed on both sides makes compelling reading.  He examines the trusts and betrayals – mistrusts and support – vengeance – greed – long standing rivalries and hatreds that made up the causes and effects of the wars for the plains.

Cozzens takes pains to point out that there was no government extermination policy, but rather a lot of good and bad intentions in the name of Manifest Destiny.  Inter-tribal battles and inter-racial tensions helped escalate a volatile situation into the ultimate tragedy at Wounded Knee, where the Native Americans became overwhelmed by a technically-stronger invading force.  There is no romanticizing of men like Custer and Geronimo either.  Cozzens examines their strengths and weaknesses, achieving a candid balance to this bloody period in American history.

The Earth Is Weeping makes excellent addition to Dee Brown’s classic, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.  Highly recommended.