Bth-Panther in the Sky

James Alexander Thom, Author
James Alexander Thom, Author Ballantine Books $19.95 (655p) ISBN 978-0-345-30596-1
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
What particularly distinguishes this splendidly vigorous and imaginative recreation of the life of the great Shawnee chief Tecumseh (1768-1813) is its bid to capture the spirit of Midwestern Indian culture from within. A bestselling trade paperback author ( Follow the River ; From Sea to Shining Sea ), Thom has steeped himself in Shawnee customs, rituals, mystic rites, techniques of hunting and fighting--and Tecumseh embodies this tradition at its best. Inspired by the example of his father and older brother, both skilled warriors, and a sagacious sister, Tecumseh is fearless and cunning in battle, yet magnanimous and honorable. He alone has the strength of personality to unite the Indian nations in a sporadically successful but ultimately doomed resistance to the ever-encroaching white man. Despite his hatred of whites, Tecumseh can admire such rivals as Daniel Boone and General (later President) Harrison, and even has some white friends, who include a missionary and a British general. It's a story of the tragic clash of cultures, made more ironic by the follies of Tecumseh's younger brother, a fake shaman, and punctuated by exciting battles in which courage and cruelty have equal roles. Above all, it is the tale of a charismatic leader's efforts to defend his people in the face of overwhelming odds. Major ad/promo. (Apr.)
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