Well-researched and thorough
As the title clearly tells us, Between Two Fires: American Indians in the Civil War is (primarily) about the contributions of the American Indian to the American Civil War. It starts the reader with some of the early atrocities and misunderstandings that have characterized Indian and White interactions throughout American history. Some are the same things you will read about in any decent high school history text, and some are new for those that are not Indian history "buffs", such as myself. For example, I was not aware of the cruel and deliberate destruction of the Indian populations in California during the Gold Rush of 1849 until I read about it here.
The book discusses Indian participation on both sides of the war and their various motivations for joining in the fight. These motivations range from genuine patriotism to wanting to suck up to the government (be it Union or Confederate) for favors to wanting a steady, if small income to just wanting to get involved in the biggest thing that was going to happen to this generation of Americans.
|General Grant's staff. Ely Parker is on the far left.|