The Scolai

“Just a Good Guy…With a Few Bad Habits”

Blood and Thunder

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I am currently reading the book “Blood and Thunder” by Hampton Sides. My father gave it to me as a Christmas present and I have been unable to put it down. As an amateur historian, I pride myself on my knowledge of this country’s history in general, and Native American and Civil War history in particular (I use the latter term only for the readers ease of understanding. I personally find it to be one of the great misnomers in recorded history, and will hold forth on that subject in a future post).

 Mr. Sides’ subject is the conquest of the American southwest, using the lives of famed mountain man Kit Carson and Navajo headman Narbona as the basis of his story. In my opinion, the people, the places and the time described by Sides, are rivaled only by what has been written about the tribes of the northern plains.

  What I like most about this book is its description of the Navajo people. I have never read such a vivid portrayal of them as Warriors, Shepherds, Traders, or Thieves. Most of what I found available, portrays the Navajo people as docile farmers and craftsmen. The period covered in this book, roughly 1810-1865, show’s them to have been more feared than the Apaches, and wealthier than the New Mexicans and Americans that moved into their territory.

  More than weavers of the famous Navajo blankets, or domesticated farmers, Navajo men were expert horsemen, ferocious in battle, famous for the Sheep they bred, and unparalleled horse thieves. Navajo women enjoyed a reputation as first rate traders, and are thought in some cases to have been the true power of the tribe.This book has certainly awakened a curiosity in me regarding the Navajo people, and I know I will take the time to research them in greater depth.

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Written by thescolai

December 26, 2006 at 6:53 am

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