The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek by Richard Kluger
A Tragic Clash Between White and Native America

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Synopsis

The riveting story of a dramatic confrontation between Native Americans and white settlers, a compelling conflict that unfolded in the newly created Washington Territory from 1853 to 1857.

When appointed Washington’s first governor, Isaac Ingalls Stevens, an ambitious military man turned politician, had one goal: to persuade (peacefully if possible) the Indians of the Puget Sound region to turn over their ancestral lands to the federal government. In return, they were to be consigned to reservations unsuitable for hunting, fishing, or grazing, their traditional means of sustaining life. The result was an outbreak of violence and rebellion, a tragic episode of frontier oppression and injustice.

With his trademark empathy and scholarly acuity, Pulitzer Prize–winner Richard Kluger recounts the impact of Stevens’s program on the Nisqually tribe, whose chief, Leschi, sparked the native resistance movement. Stevens was determined to succeed at any cost: his hasty treaty negotiations with the Indians, marked by deceit, threat, and misrepresentation, inflamed his opponents. Leschi, resolved to save more than a few patches of his people’s lush homelands, unwittingly turned his tribe—and himself most of all—into victims of the governor’s relentless wrath. The conflict between these two complicated and driven men—and their supporters—explosively and enormously at odds with each other, was to have echoes far into the future.

Closely considered and eloquently written, The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is a bold and long-overdue clarification of the historical record of an American tragedy, presenting, through the experiences of one tribe, the history of Native American suffering and injustice.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Richard Kluger

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Richard Kluger is the author of Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris, which won the Pulitzer Prize. His Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality and The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune both were finalists for the National Book Award. He is the author or coauthor of eight novels as well. He lives in Northern California. www.richardkluger.com
 
Published March 1, 2011 by Vintage. 352 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek

Kirkus Reviews

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Intense history of a vicious confrontation between whites and Indians in 1850s Washington Territory.

Feb 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bitter Waters of Medicine...

The New York Times

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How a struggle over land led to war between whites and Indians in Washington Territory in the mid-1800’s.

Mar 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bitter Waters of Medicine...

Star Tribune

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A meticulously researched, elegantly written and sophisticated look at an all-but-forgotten episode in American history.

Mar 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bitter Waters of Medicine...

Star Tribune

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A meticulously researched, elegantly written and sophisticated look at an all-but-forgotten episode in American history.

Mar 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bitter Waters of Medicine...

Shelf Awareness

The Postmistress by Sarah BlakeReporting bookstores and their handselling favorites last week:Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick RothfussThe Book Cellar at Lincoln Square: Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz and Nick KokonasThe Book Table, Oak Park: Pym by Mat ...

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