Wounded Knee by Neil Waldman

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Synopsis

In this stirring historical account, Neil Waldman presents the background events that led up to the final and unforgettable confrontation between two proud and disparate cultures.

Waldman begins the story of Wounded Knee with the settling of North America by Europeans, the land that tribes of nomadic hunters had found centuries earlier, and where they had developed their own unique culture. When the settlers arrived and tried to tame the frontier wilderness of the west, a conflict began which would last for decades.

Unfamiliar with European concepts of ownership and diplomacy, the Lakota warrior tribes of the western plains could make no sense of the intruders who were suddenly staking claims to the mountains and prairies they called home. And in turn, the settlers felt unjustly threatened by the "red heathens" who attacked them even when they turned useless prairie into productive farmland.

Finally, the Lakota were forced to cast aside their ancient ways and live on reservations, where the eastern settlers hoped they would learn white ways of living. Then, on December 28, 1890, at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, the last free remnants of the proud nomadic hunters faced the might of the U.S. Army. And another series of misunderstandings left the blood of the last free Lakotas trickling into the earth.

 

About Neil Waldman

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In His Own Words..."I always knew that drawing and painting provided a magical pathway to the secret inner world of my imagination. When chaos, pain, and confusion enveloped me as a child, I would retreat to my bedroom, close the door, and sit down with crayons and a sketch pad. As I watched amazing shapes and colors pour from my crayons onto the blank sheets of paper, I could feel the fear and tension dissolve. And while I continued working at my desk, the outside world would disappear completely as I traveled along the exquisite, winding road inward."It is no coincidence that I chose to become a children's book illustrator. As an adult I realized that I had to earn a living, but I was also determined to spend my days doing what I loved most. Illustration has allowed me to achieve both goals. And so for me it is a magical profession. Sometimes in the early morning hours, as I float between the waking world and the world of sleep, I revel in the thrilling realization that I'm doing exactly what I loved most in kindergarten, and being paid for it."For me each new picture book is an adventure. During the weeks and months that I work on a story its mysteries rest in the world just behind my eyes, waiting to be revealed. Every time my mind grows quiet, I drift silently into that world. I live within the story, inhaling its fragrance, thrilling in its dance, and swaying with its rhythms. I place the manuscript on my night table and read it in the evenings before I fall asleep. Sometimes images begin swirling in my dreams. At other times they come to me when I least expect them. Once I envisioned a whole book during a terrible migraine headache."When the images begin to clarify, I start sketching in pencil. And when the people and places in the sketches match those in my imagination, I bring out my paints. Then my greatest fun begins, when the colors of my heart flow through my brush and appear magically before me. Sometimes the paintings take a month to complete. At other times they take more than a year. When all the paintings are finished, I spread them out on my living room floor and marvel at them."There are difficulties in living the life I've chosen. Sometimes I struggle for weeks or months, desperately searching for the soul of a story that continues to elude me. At other times I worry about the erratic work schedule and unsteady income. But the countless joys and thrills that tumble about me like autumn leaves make it clear that there is no other profession on earth that I would choose.
 
Published May 1, 2001 by Atheneum. 64 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wounded Knee

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Also unattributed, it is a loose paraphrase from Black Elk Speaks (which Waldman does include in his bibliography), including some phrases in direct quotes, but with some curious alterations.

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Publishers Weekly

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Waldman (The Golden City) immediately captures the audience's sympathy and interest with the heart-pounding experiences of the then-young Lakota warrior, Black Elk, who awakens to gunfire and then witnesses the cavalry slaughter more than 140 Lakota, including women and children.

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