Prairie Man: The Struggle Between Sitting Bull and Indian Agent James McLaughlin

Norman E. Matteoni. Globe Pequot/TwoDot, $18.95 trade paper (392p) ISBN 978-1-4422-4475-7
Legal scholar Matteoni tells the sweeping, devastating story of the decline of Sioux power in the latter half of the 19th century. From the 1860s through the 1880s, Sitting Bull, a spiritual Hunkpapa Lakota warrior, fought an increasingly futile battle to preserve his people's way of life. Though the story's flow is often marred by an over-use of block quotes and the unnecessary use of reconstructed dialogue, Matteoni has a knack for describing the various armed confrontations of this time period, particularly the famous 1876 battle of Little Big Horn. The first half of the book belongs to Sitting Bull; his eventual nemesis, James McLaughlin, does not come fully into view until 1881, when he accepted the position of Indian agent at the Standing Rock Agency in the Dakota Territory. Despite being backed by the power of the U.S. government, McLaughlin was overshadowed by Sitting Bull when the warrior arrived at McLaughlin's agency in 1883. There, the two men clashed for more than six years over who had the right to speak for and lead the Sioux. Though McLaughlin ultimately prevailed, Matteoni's book will remind readers why Sitting Bull has become such an important historical figure. Illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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