Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation

John Sedgwick. Simon & Schuster, $30 (512p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2871-4
In this richly textured slice of Native American history, journalist Sedgwick (War of Two) delves into the decades-long conflicts that divided the Cherokee Nation and eventually led factions to fight on both sides of the Civil War. At the center sit two Cherokee leaders, friends turned bitter rivals. He Who Walks on Mountains, known as the Ridge, and John Ross—both of mixed Cherokee and Scottish ancestry—first crossed paths while fighting under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812. Fourteen years later, the two men served, respectively, as the principal chief and first counselor of a thriving tribe whose government had a constitution and legislative and judiciary branches.“Then,” Sedgwick notes, “gold was found in Cherokee Georgia, and that ruined everything.” By the early 1830s, the Cherokee were forced to leave Georgia on the Trail of Tears. Sedgwick recounts the growing hostility between Ross, whose followers wanted to fight the order, and the Ridge, whose followers considered removal inevitable and wanted to make sure they got the best deal possible, through the Civil War. Though Sedgwick doesn’t break new ground with primary sources, and his storytelling suffers from some language that treats members of the tribe as an exotic monolith (“The Cherokee have always been an inspired, resilient people, close to the earth, and, with it, to the eternal”), he has mined the best contemporary scholarship to craft a narrative riven with human drama. Illus. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 04/10/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 416 pages - 978-1-5082-5453-9
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