Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West
When one considers the central role the West played in the development of American history and popular culture, the relative paucity of historical accounts of this region is surprising. Yale-educated Hampton Sides’s aptly titled Blood and Thunder is a stunning history of white versus red that concentrates on the American war against the Navajo as the template for numerous other campaigns. Kit Carson’s career as frontier scout and Indian fighter plays a prominent role in this brilliantly written work. The book begins with the coming of the Americans to the lands of the Navajo Indians at the start of the U.S. war with Mexico in 1846. The Navajo did not have the reputation as being as warlike as the neighboring Apache, but this would change under the pressure posed by Carson and the U.S. Army. Carson, despite his sympathies for Native Americans and his two Native American wives, would bring massacre and deprivation to the Navajo and destroy their civilization. The Navajo, Kit Carson, John Charles Fremont, President James Polk, and others bring this saga of one peoples’ fight for survival to life in the author’s carefully crafted prose.