Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman

Julie R. Jeffrey, Author University of Oklahoma Press $24.95 (238p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2359-2
Since her brutal killing in an 1847 massacre of whites by Cayuse Indians, Narcissa Whitman has donned the mantle of heroine and martyr. Sent west from New York in 1836 by an evangelical group, newlyweds Narcissa and Marcus Whitman founded the Waiilatpu mission near present-day Walla Walla, Wash., and set about converting the Cayuse to Christianity, with scant success. In this unsympathetic treatment, Jeffrey ( Frontier Woman ) faults Narcissa's esteemed role in history and, on flimsy evidence, blames in part her haughtiness and ineptitude for the massacre. The Narcissa met in this arguable, revisionist portrait is a dependent mama's girl who romanticized her calling and, flawed by narrow thinking, proved ill-suited for missionary work. Illustrated. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X