One Real American: The Life of Ely S. Parker: Seneca Sachem and Civil War General

Joseph Bruchac. Abrams, $18.99 (248p) ISBN 978-1-41-974657-4
Employing historical photographs and first-person quotes, Bruchac (who is Abenaki) uses straightforward language in this lively biography of Ely S. Parker, an Iroquois engineer and lawyer who served as both a Seneca Grand Sachem and a Civil War general and wrote the “official terms of surrender marking the end of the Civil War” at Appomattox. Born in 1828 on the Tonawanda Seneca Reservation and educated tuition-free by Baptist missionaries before studying law, Parker’s knowledge of English saw him translating, at age 16, the Seneca Nation’s efforts to preserve tribal lands. Though the bar exam was denied to him due to racist policies that didn’t extend citizenship to American Indians, he became an engineer during the Civil War, rose to the rank of general, and eventually served as Ulysses S. Grant’s secretary. Appointed the first Native American Indian Affairs commissioner, his enemies eventually used his race to discredit him and force him from the position. Parker faced much prejudice, injustice, and hostility, never becoming well known, despite his many accomplishments. By providing a highly detailed portrait of a complex man, Bruchac’s well researched book goes far to correct that oversight. Ages 10–14. Agent: Barbara Kouts, Barbara Kouts Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 11/05/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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