Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hundred in the Hand by Joseph Marshall III

"Fascinating perspective of a story we thought we knew"

Many years ago I went through my "westerns" phase reading several different westerns about how America was settled. I always wondered about the Native American perspective, and I was very eager to read Hundred in the Hand by Joseph M. Marshall III. As far as I know, this is the first historical fiction novel about the west as told from the Native American perspective.

The story is told through a fictitious Lakota Indian named Cloud. The story is about the Fetterman Massacre, a battle that took place on Dec. 21, 1866, also known as Hundred in the Hand by the Lakota. For the most part, I began to relate to the Lakota's since the story is told from their viewpoint, but occassionally the author throws in a perspective from the white side for balance.

It was refreshing to see the Lakota as everyday people like you and me, rather than then savages portrayed by western film and literature I am familiar with. It was also very interesting to me that the cover art work displays the white man as blue silhouettes but the Lakota are in full color. The author definately knew what he was doing, had a goal in mind when writing this book, and ultimately accomplished his goal.

One thing I really liked about this book is the included glossary, calendar, and maps. So often historical fiction novels leave these important features out.

The publisher says this is a first in a series of novels, and I expect them to do very well, and I look forward to reading more by this author.


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