cover image Osceola and the Great Seminole War: A Struggle for Justice and Freedom

Osceola and the Great Seminole War: A Struggle for Justice and Freedom

Thom Hatch. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-35591-3

In this engaging, well-researched study, historian Hatch (Black Kettle: The Cheyenne Chief Who Sought Peace but Found War) narrates the protracted, if ultimately futile, efforts of the Seminoles to resist resettlement from their native Florida to the West—“the longest, most expensive and deadliest war ever fought by Americans against Native Americans.” By husbanding his resources and fighting a guerrilla war, Osceola, the remarkable military leader of the vastly outnumbered Seminoles, outlasted and outfought seven U.S. army generals, including War of 1812 hero Winfield Scott, who had predicted victory within three months, and future president Zachary Taylor. In what Hatch calls “one of the most disgraceful acts in American military history,” Osceola was captured by Gen. Thomas Jesup during what were supposed to be peace talks. By that time, repeated American violations of treaties, the length of the war, and Osceola’s bravery had made him popular, with a Northern magazine referring to him as “bold and decisive in action, deadly but consistent in hatred, dark in revenge, cool, subtle, sagacious.” This important book adds to our understanding of the shameful mistreatment of Native Americans and their resistance. Agent: Joseph Vallely, Flaming Star Literary Enterprises. (July)