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Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

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One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought wi One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. As he and other Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislatiors, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of Tears." (Library Journal)


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One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought wi One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. As he and other Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislatiors, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of Tears." (Library Journal)

30 review for Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Runningfox

    I have bought and given away many copies of this book..It is my favorite book and it details the history of the Rise and Fall OF my people The Cheokees..I wish everyone would get a copy of this book and read what can happen when you do everything right and the government decides they want what you have obtained and take it away from you and give it to someone who did nothing to obtain it..Thia book gives informtuion bout a president of the US and his disregard for the human rights of people that I have bought and given away many copies of this book..It is my favorite book and it details the history of the Rise and Fall OF my people The Cheokees..I wish everyone would get a copy of this book and read what can happen when you do everything right and the government decides they want what you have obtained and take it away from you and give it to someone who did nothing to obtain it..Thia book gives informtuion bout a president of the US and his disregard for the human rights of people that he could never be good enough to even tie one Cherokee mans their shoe laces.. Present Andrew Jacksons actions make president Bush's actions seem like a saints in comparison..

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Barrett

    Well, now I know. Considering I am part Cherokee, I have been curious about the details of this event for a long time. This book was not written in a voice that delivers a dramatic or emotional punch so I felt it lacked a personal touch, a personal touch that would have affected the Cherokee side of me a little deeper. But what it lacked in personality, it delivered in information. As is the case most of the time, what I thought I knew based on hear-say and Hollywood romanticizing, is much shallo Well, now I know. Considering I am part Cherokee, I have been curious about the details of this event for a long time. This book was not written in a voice that delivers a dramatic or emotional punch so I felt it lacked a personal touch, a personal touch that would have affected the Cherokee side of me a little deeper. But what it lacked in personality, it delivered in information. As is the case most of the time, what I thought I knew based on hear-say and Hollywood romanticizing, is much shallower than the facts of the actual event. Trail of Tears is a well documented story of the relocation of the Cherokee Nation from their ancestral lands in the east, to new lands further west. The book takes us far beyond the journey itself and begins early on during the colonization of America by the whites, so we are given the big picture of the overall history that led up to the cruel exodus that took the Cherokee's land as well as many of their lives. As our nation ages and grows more humble and open, I am appreciative of truth that is revealed, of skeletons that are let out of the closet. But lets me honest; those skeletons don't just belong on one side of the fence. Regardless what you call yourself, we are all human and we all have them. And this is why I enjoy books like this. We need history with its facts. We need to face the truth. Otherwise, how could we face ourselves.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jogle

    In the summer of 2008 I found myself dirty and exhausted in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, taking a day off whilst re-supplying on a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. As an Englishman alone, I was spoilt for choice between the Dollyworld theme park and the World of Magnets emporium. Whilst vacillating on this dilemma over a beer, I fell into conversation with a Cherokee lady who entranced me with a brief history of nearby Cherokee and the tragic history of The Trail of Tears. Continuing on the trek, I In the summer of 2008 I found myself dirty and exhausted in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, taking a day off whilst re-supplying on a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. As an Englishman alone, I was spoilt for choice between the Dollyworld theme park and the World of Magnets emporium. Whilst vacillating on this dilemma over a beer, I fell into conversation with a Cherokee lady who entranced me with a brief history of nearby Cherokee and the tragic history of The Trail of Tears. Continuing on the trek, I couldn’t help thinking of the forests in a new light, populated by the Cherokee nation. Being English I imagined Indian history with horseback braves sweeping across plains a la Hollywood. In view of my interest, after finishing the trek, I was gifted this book by an American friend. It relates the history and culture of the Cherokee nation including the atrocity of the Trail of Tears.It is far from my Hollywood misconceptions The story is sad and enlightening. I had no idea of the nature of Cherokee culture and many aspects surprised me. Western names, the Irish influence and the politics of the time and area. All empires and powers are founded in some respect on the persecution, subjugation and deprivation of minority races or people. The land grabs surrounding the Southern Appalachian area are no different. On a negative note, the book does not read easily. The style is very stilted and the tone constantly varies from historical to anecdotal, reading like an amateur paper. Nonetheless, the bland style is somewhat mitigated by the sad historical story. A must read if you visit this area or have interest in this period of US history. Changed my understanding of this area and my hike through it. Can anyone recommend a similar book on Dollyworld or The World of Magnets?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)

    I wish everyone could read this book. If you happen to get the chance to read this, PLEASE DO..

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    ok, i won't lie - this took a long time to get through. it's often incredibly dense, and the amount of research that went into it must have been astounding. and truth be told, i eventually found myself struggling to read each-and-every historical detail... but that's a shortcoming of my own attention span, not of the book. as an inquiry into race and assimilation, this is about as good as it gets. it's not really the story of white settlers and native americans. it's the story of cherokees, creek ok, i won't lie - this took a long time to get through. it's often incredibly dense, and the amount of research that went into it must have been astounding. and truth be told, i eventually found myself struggling to read each-and-every historical detail... but that's a shortcoming of my own attention span, not of the book. as an inquiry into race and assimilation, this is about as good as it gets. it's not really the story of white settlers and native americans. it's the story of cherokees, creeks, moravians, methodists, baptists, slaves, slave-owners, "half-breeds," choctaws and seminoles. ehle goes to great lengths to render the transformations the cherokees undertook in their encounters with white civilization. yes - as most reviews of this book note - they "took on white customs," but the ambiguity involved in doing so is given fantastic expression. the book contains lots of strange little portraits. consider general john wool, who arrives to police the cherokee with a strong arm... and instead finds himself disgusted with his own people in the face of their treatment. ehle gives us a glimpse at some of his letters, which seem sincere, patronizing and paternalistic simultaneously. wool's scrappy, military persona is ill-suited to his new-found empathy. so he argues ineffectively on behalf of the cherokee and is eventually removed from his post. wool's story is emblematic of the book's remarkable ambiguity. ehle considers his subjects in three dimensions. the stories are complicated and unsentimental, but also intimate and moving. as a 21st century reader, it's interesting to note the incredible bureaucratic posturing that went into the cherokee's catastrophic removal from georgia. when confronted with the native american genocide, it's easy to imagine white settlers as barbaric sadists. i'm sure many of them were, but trail of tears rarely focuses on scandals and visceral brutality. instead, the atrocities arrive slowly - through unfair court hearings, shady legislation, broken promises and changing political allegiances. its horror is systematic. at times it's even somewhat familiar. finally, this book is beautifully written. ehle occasionally adopts a literary style that runs the risk of embellishment. he gets inside the heads of his subjects to a degree that some historians might be uncomfortable with, but i found it tasteful and engrossing. i also enjoyed the diversity of his stylistic approaches. the text moves sharply from cold facts to literary poetics, with a healthy dose of original source material thrown in (sometimes stretching several pages at a time). if you're interested in native american history (and willing to commit to something dense and challenging), this book is essential reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's obvious that the author did his homework; it's very well researched. On the other hand, I didn't find it to be a very readable book. I often lost track of the main characters and felt this was largely because the author didn't do a great job transitioning from one subject to the next. Also, I found his own intrepetations of what might have happened or what might have been going through one of the main actor's mind frequently unsubstanti I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it's obvious that the author did his homework; it's very well researched. On the other hand, I didn't find it to be a very readable book. I often lost track of the main characters and felt this was largely because the author didn't do a great job transitioning from one subject to the next. Also, I found his own intrepetations of what might have happened or what might have been going through one of the main actor's mind frequently unsubstantiated and confusing. Finally, I had a hard time following much of his research and often wondered about the accuracy -- knowing that history can never be one hundred percent objective -- of his representation of events.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sonny

    Well, this is exactly how I learned it in school. Oh,well,uh, maybe not exactly. In fact, not at all. Actually, it's alarming to realize how this version of reality is so totally inconsistent with public school education. OK, enough rant. This fascinating story constructed from a personal viewpoint made it that much more compelling. I'll take on faith the quoted letters but suspect that some dots were connected by leap of faith and not historical documentation. But that's good enough for me to pa Well, this is exactly how I learned it in school. Oh,well,uh, maybe not exactly. In fact, not at all. Actually, it's alarming to realize how this version of reality is so totally inconsistent with public school education. OK, enough rant. This fascinating story constructed from a personal viewpoint made it that much more compelling. I'll take on faith the quoted letters but suspect that some dots were connected by leap of faith and not historical documentation. But that's good enough for me to paint a picture of yet another dirty little era in the rich history of European domination of the western world in the land of the free and the former home of the braves. The native americans blew it but then they weren't dealt a particularly strong hand and then played it poorly but not to be faulted. I was embarrassed at my ignorance of the degree to which the Cherokee people took steps to adapt in the new world circumstances as well as the amount of inter-marriage and assimilation. I am working my way through the book and don't find the writing particularly good. It seems like a pastiche of well-researched facts, historical novel and personal opinions with blurred lines among them. But it sure is interesting. Finally finished this book. Not a particularly fun read. But the subject matter is so compelling and the presentation of facts so incredibly inconsistent with my naive appreciation of New World occupation that the content of this book just pulled me along. Reading this book - or something pretty close to it - should be required to maintain citizenship.

  8. 5 out of 5

    saïd

    Very well-researched and informative. Less of a look into the Cherokee themselves and more of a history of what happened to them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mle

    History books were written very differently 30 years ago. First this isn’t a book about the trail of tears. It’s barely a book about the Cherokee people. This is a book about the lives of the major figures involved in negotiating with the US government leading up to resettlement. It’s sources are the documents white people wrote about those Cherokee leaders. Cherokee wasn’t a written language so contemporary first person accounts are probably non existent. However, this creates a one sided tone History books were written very differently 30 years ago. First this isn’t a book about the trail of tears. It’s barely a book about the Cherokee people. This is a book about the lives of the major figures involved in negotiating with the US government leading up to resettlement. It’s sources are the documents white people wrote about those Cherokee leaders. Cherokee wasn’t a written language so contemporary first person accounts are probably non existent. However, this creates a one sided tone the author did little to counter. The only time any Cherokee voices come through are those couple of years when the Cherokee Phoenix was being published. There is one chapter on the round up and removal. It’s so white washed as to be embarrassing. He notes there are “camps” and that some people had to be led away at bayonet point, but nothing else. There’s a bit more detail in the Epilogue as he mentions some of the factions that stayed behind. The part about the actual March acknowledges that there was sickness and death and folks seemed unhappy but it was written in the style of a fever dream. Very different from the rest of the book and confusing. At the end, though he clearly thought Andrew Jackson was an abhorrent human, he plays apologist for the government, arguing it was either removal or war and the Cherokee were warriors who owned slaves so we shouldn’t assume they wouldn’t have caused more problems if they stayed. I am generously giving two stars because the details about the negotiations with the government before removal and the situation the Georgia government created was well done and very informative.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    My great, great grandfather volunteered to remove the Cherokees, so I bought this book to find out more about what he was commissioned to do. The book is called “Trail of Tears” and since I was only interested in the part my ancestor played, I thought I would only have to read half the book. Three quarters of the way through I realized the book’s subtitle is “The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation” and that I would probably be reading the whole book. Believe it or not, that was OK with me. I c My great, great grandfather volunteered to remove the Cherokees, so I bought this book to find out more about what he was commissioned to do. The book is called “Trail of Tears” and since I was only interested in the part my ancestor played, I thought I would only have to read half the book. Three quarters of the way through I realized the book’s subtitle is “The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation” and that I would probably be reading the whole book. Believe it or not, that was OK with me. I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know what happened to the Ridges, just as if this book were a novel. I’ve never read historical non-fiction before because I thought it would be boring, but this was not. Things I learned: the Indians really did make sport of killing people but they were changing their ways; that Andrew Jackson was an S.O.B. and not worthy of his picture on any denomination of U.S. currency.

  11. 4 out of 5

    C.p. Bialois

    I'm a third Cherokee so this book really means a lot to me. Using actual written documents from that time, it depicts the Cherokee Nation as it was before the White man began to enforce his ideals and beliefs. It's centered around one of the greatest Cherokees Major Ridge and his family as they grew, adopted the white man's ways, and then fought against Andrew Jackson in court to remain on their ancestral land. Trail of Tears takes the history of a great people and examines what life was like an I'm a third Cherokee so this book really means a lot to me. Using actual written documents from that time, it depicts the Cherokee Nation as it was before the White man began to enforce his ideals and beliefs. It's centered around one of the greatest Cherokees Major Ridge and his family as they grew, adopted the white man's ways, and then fought against Andrew Jackson in court to remain on their ancestral land. Trail of Tears takes the history of a great people and examines what life was like and to what extremes they went to in order to fit in with the white man society growing around them. It was a time of shame for the United States and a must read for any history enthusiast.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian T

    I wanted to like this book. I really did. I did finish reading it, but it was one of the most difficult to read books I have come across in a very long time. For anyone interested in this subject matter, there are other, much better, books. "Empire of the Summer Moon" about Quanah and the Comanches was fantastic! "Blood and Thunder" about the Navajos and Kit Carson was awesome too! I am a fan of this subject matter, even though it is quite obviously a tragic one. What "Manifest Destiny" did to al I wanted to like this book. I really did. I did finish reading it, but it was one of the most difficult to read books I have come across in a very long time. For anyone interested in this subject matter, there are other, much better, books. "Empire of the Summer Moon" about Quanah and the Comanches was fantastic! "Blood and Thunder" about the Navajos and Kit Carson was awesome too! I am a fan of this subject matter, even though it is quite obviously a tragic one. What "Manifest Destiny" did to all of the Native American tribes as the country spread West is something we should all know about. There is never a way that these tribes can all be re-paid for what was taken from them: their lands, homes, health, dignity, hunting grounds, customs, traditions and heritage. At the very least, it should be taught better to America's youth in a more truthful and respectful way. But, the truth remains that this author's style was not easy to read. At times it read like a non-fictional textbook. At other times, it got really "artsy" and poetry-like. Some pages shifted from one medium to another and then back again. It just all seemed so disjointed to me... Frankly, I think that it would have been a much better book if it was 100 or so pages shorter! I will continue to look for another story about the Cherokees, because this one was obviously not the right one for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa McClintock

    I had to do a summary of a pov on the trail of tears, and this book was among the armload of books I used for research. However, it is so good, I kept reading it. Eventually it played a part in my final term paper re Andrew Jackson's presidency. This book is not biased. It gives due where the Cherokee are concerned, and the controversy between chief ross and major john ridge, who was a chief under ross. Another example is that Jackson was correct in wanting the Cherokee to follow state laws and n I had to do a summary of a pov on the trail of tears, and this book was among the armload of books I used for research. However, it is so good, I kept reading it. Eventually it played a part in my final term paper re Andrew Jackson's presidency. This book is not biased. It gives due where the Cherokee are concerned, and the controversy between chief ross and major john ridge, who was a chief under ross. Another example is that Jackson was correct in wanting the Cherokee to follow state laws and not their own. What this book is about, is what occurred BEFORE the Trail of tears. Historically it is very valuable because it covers all surrounding issues re the Cherokee. Like they actually joined Jackson AGAINST Tecumseh. Recommended for anyone interested in early american history, and of course native american history.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chana

    We zoom in on a piece of history, the long walk of the Cherokee people from their ancestral lands in the east to the land assigned to them, by the U.S. government, in the west. We see not just the forced evacuation and tragic march, we focus in on the individual people and decisions that led to this outcome. It doesn't become any less tragic but it takes on a great deal of depth and complexity with a lot of shades of gray. Recommended We zoom in on a piece of history, the long walk of the Cherokee people from their ancestral lands in the east to the land assigned to them, by the U.S. government, in the west. We see not just the forced evacuation and tragic march, we focus in on the individual people and decisions that led to this outcome. It doesn't become any less tragic but it takes on a great deal of depth and complexity with a lot of shades of gray. Recommended

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    More than the Trail of Tears this is a very well written history of a crucial span of almost 100 years of the Cherokee and other tribe of the southeast. Their social life, the differing political current and their experiences with the 'whites' and more. Very comprehensive. The author is intentionally emotive or expressive at times but done very well. He also includes lots of original source material. It also challenges a number of myths about the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee wer More than the Trail of Tears this is a very well written history of a crucial span of almost 100 years of the Cherokee and other tribe of the southeast. Their social life, the differing political current and their experiences with the 'whites' and more. Very comprehensive. The author is intentionally emotive or expressive at times but done very well. He also includes lots of original source material. It also challenges a number of myths about the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee were not appreciably becoming integrated in 'white' culture. A few half-bloods were, but not the vast majority were very traditional, never learning to speak English or read Cherokee. Sequoyah was honored for his creation of the Cherokee alphabet but was otherwise irrelevant to the history of his times, having little or no impact on the political and social developments of the tribe. Four hundred, not four thousand Cherokee died on the Trail of Tears and smallpox was not a factor for them. It was for one of the other five tribes however. The Trail of Tears would have been much more benign (as a removal process, not as an overall event in the history of the people, had it not been taken over from the U.S. Army and contracted out to the main chief of the Cherokee! The Cherokee did not live peacefully with their neighbors or among themselves. They were very warlike and violent towards their neighboring tribes and among themselves. The main historical point, that the 'whites' were inhumane (racist), greedy, violent, unprincipled, undignified and uncouth, is reinforced throughout. The the Cherokee were exceptionally dignified, honest, etc. is also made manifest.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chuck LoPresti

    As a piece of history writing - regardless of subject matter - it's strong - well researched. The story is not known enough. I think it makes sense for people to read this now...enough said on that for now. Sadly Ehle's great writing doesn't really take flight until the last chapter and the epilogue which on its own ranks a full 5. No way around it - it doesn't read easy for long periods of time and I swear the 6pt font (for longer references only etc.) was going to make me blind. Read the Land B As a piece of history writing - regardless of subject matter - it's strong - well researched. The story is not known enough. I think it makes sense for people to read this now...enough said on that for now. Sadly Ehle's great writing doesn't really take flight until the last chapter and the epilogue which on its own ranks a full 5. No way around it - it doesn't read easy for long periods of time and I swear the 6pt font (for longer references only etc.) was going to make me blind. Read the Land Breakers from Ehle - much better writing in general. The subject is nothing less than heartbreaking national embarrassment. Nobody is spared. If you are curious about this subject - and you should be - this is a must read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lance Kuhn

    This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I learned a lot of history that I had never heard before, some of it a bit surprising. But all of it supported the notion that whites are more important than anyone else. The attitudes and behaviors of a lot of the leaders in that time are appalling, though there were some that come through historically as being different, willing to learn and to treat all people as people. Maybe most upsetting is how the encouraged, and then forced, emigration caused the Ch This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I learned a lot of history that I had never heard before, some of it a bit surprising. But all of it supported the notion that whites are more important than anyone else. The attitudes and behaviors of a lot of the leaders in that time are appalling, though there were some that come through historically as being different, willing to learn and to treat all people as people. Maybe most upsetting is how the encouraged, and then forced, emigration caused the Cherokee people to turn on each other, and eventually resulted in mass murder in the new Indian lands in Oklahoma.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mad Dan

    This is a very informative book with a great deal of information. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the Cherokee people and the Trail of Tears.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Engaging at times, but writing was all over, and in my opinion did not flow well at all. Nonetheless, this book captures a history of the Cherokee that starts in the 1700's and moves to the Trail of Tears. Hence the title, rise and fall of the Cherokee Nation. I've been to the play "Unto These Hills" in Cherokee, NC. Recalling aspects of it, depicted Cherokee John Ross in a positive light, whereas, in this book, he comes across as an antagonist of sorts, with Major Ridge, his son John Ridge, and Engaging at times, but writing was all over, and in my opinion did not flow well at all. Nonetheless, this book captures a history of the Cherokee that starts in the 1700's and moves to the Trail of Tears. Hence the title, rise and fall of the Cherokee Nation. I've been to the play "Unto These Hills" in Cherokee, NC. Recalling aspects of it, depicted Cherokee John Ross in a positive light, whereas, in this book, he comes across as an antagonist of sorts, with Major Ridge, his son John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot the favored characters. Despite this it traces how the Cherokee lived, and how missionaries and other whites, tried to help educate them, etc, turning them from hunters/warriors in the wild, to landowners, educated citizens of the U.S. But as you read, this is more a minority of them. The actual Trail of Tears part does not cover but several chapters. There are a lot of excerpts from key players, during this time, which adds credence, but as the author notes, some can be romanticized.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jazmine

    Being that I am part Cherokee (something my dad never let us forget), I always knew about the Trail of Tears. This book really goes into deep detail about everything leading up to and during the Trail of Tears. Super informative and interesting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gela

    My father gave this book to me years ago. I think I was just getting out of high school. A touch of his fathers history. I only remember bits and pieces of it. I liked it though its sad.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bulger

    The United States has a long, long, long history of taking land away from Native Americans, relocating them on parcels of land we’ve deemed valueless, then retaking the land we’ve given to them after discovering it actually does contain value, and relocating them somewhere else, a process that always results in vile, cruel injustice, and bloodshed. The last paragraph is especially haunting, after Ehle described the ways in which so many lives were senselessly lost, he ends with “They and the Che The United States has a long, long, long history of taking land away from Native Americans, relocating them on parcels of land we’ve deemed valueless, then retaking the land we’ve given to them after discovering it actually does contain value, and relocating them somewhere else, a process that always results in vile, cruel injustice, and bloodshed. The last paragraph is especially haunting, after Ehle described the ways in which so many lives were senselessly lost, he ends with “They and the Cherokees, the Choctaws, and Creeks, the government officers and missionaries, all walking into history, which is owned by us all,” a line that I think will stick with me forever, and is still heartbreakingly relevant today, seeing as we’re still forcibly taking land from Native Americans when we find anything of value to us on it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Rakestraw

    It took awhile to get through the book. Because I’m obsessed with the Native American History and Culture this book provided a very in-depth look at the Cherokee Indians and what happened when “the white man wanted their 100,000 acres (Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.). In my travels I have noticed several Cherokee reservations in different states. That’s what happened when the white man moved them. It was very interesting to me that the Cherokee Indians really tried to do their best to ass It took awhile to get through the book. Because I’m obsessed with the Native American History and Culture this book provided a very in-depth look at the Cherokee Indians and what happened when “the white man wanted their 100,000 acres (Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.). In my travels I have noticed several Cherokee reservations in different states. That’s what happened when the white man moved them. It was very interesting to me that the Cherokee Indians really tried to do their best to assimilate in the white mans world. The wealthier Indians even had Slaves which I have never heard before. If your interest is in the Native American story this is as accurate as it gets with actuall letters, treaties, etc.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Porter Broyles

    This is more of a review of the audio version on Recorded Book than the actual book itself, but authorized versions of the book represent the book itself. I listened to about half of the book as read by John McDonough. The subject is interesting, but the actual reading turned out to be a cure for insomnia. McDonough paused too long when reading the sentences and read the book in a very monotone manner---which is impressive in and of itself because I didn't know that it was possible to speak with This is more of a review of the audio version on Recorded Book than the actual book itself, but authorized versions of the book represent the book itself. I listened to about half of the book as read by John McDonough. The subject is interesting, but the actual reading turned out to be a cure for insomnia. McDonough paused too long when reading the sentences and read the book in a very monotone manner---which is impressive in and of itself because I didn't know that it was possible to speak with a British accent that flat.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael Stalnaker

    Going down to the Smokies this Fall encouraged me to pick up this book and learn more about what happened in that area. A well detailed book for history buffs and Native American activists alike. Knowing more and more history of our country is eye opening and dark. Very sad to know what the Cherokee and other Native groups had to endure and unfortunately, still endure today. For someone like myself who doesn’t know a ton of American history, I got lost a few times on who certain people were but Going down to the Smokies this Fall encouraged me to pick up this book and learn more about what happened in that area. A well detailed book for history buffs and Native American activists alike. Knowing more and more history of our country is eye opening and dark. Very sad to know what the Cherokee and other Native groups had to endure and unfortunately, still endure today. For someone like myself who doesn’t know a ton of American history, I got lost a few times on who certain people were but for the most part, a well written book that educates one about American History.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    I learned a lot listening to this book. The story of the trail of tears that I learned as a kid was only slightly reminiscent of this story. I love learning new things and so I liked this book quite a bit as well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jim Swike

    I did not know about the Cherokee Nation and their History. I do now. An excellent read and a great History reference for research or Term paper. Enjoy!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany L

    This book has a lot of historical information. Very well written and interesting!!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Compelling subject. Would have liked maps, a picture of the geography would have helped with understanding the trail.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I could tell that I had spoiled myself as a reader when I found I had a very hard time getting through this work of nonfiction. The story was actually really good--the main thread through the book follows a [half-blood] Cherokee named Ridge, who was born right when the Cherokees were strong with their customs/traditions, including field games, warring with/scalping nearby tribes/frontiersmen, etc. Ridge was soon recognized as a natural leader with remarkable oratory skills, and he soon led his p I could tell that I had spoiled myself as a reader when I found I had a very hard time getting through this work of nonfiction. The story was actually really good--the main thread through the book follows a [half-blood] Cherokee named Ridge, who was born right when the Cherokees were strong with their customs/traditions, including field games, warring with/scalping nearby tribes/frontiersmen, etc. Ridge was soon recognized as a natural leader with remarkable oratory skills, and he soon led his people to found an independent, sovereign Cherokee nation in Georgia. They had a printing press (with a widely read newspaper), a museum, town office, post office, city hall, and Major Ridge and his family had beautiful homes and plantations. Perhaps my favorite part was when Ridge's son, John Ridge, married a white woman while attending an Eastern university in spite of the enormous controversy over it. Then Gold was found in Georgia. Even though many Americans did not agree with the Federal and State mandate, the Cherokees were basically forced to leave their nation to travel to Arkansas, famously known as the "Trail of Tears." Here was the thing that I had no idea about and that drove me INSANE--there was another popular Cherokee leader, John Ross, who basically usurped the Cherokee government and cancelled further elections. He pressured a majority of the Cherokee people to remain in Georgia, even when it was obvious they would eventually be forced to leave. He and his family took a river boat to Arkansas, a short trip, and even though the government provided boats for the rest of the Cherokees, they had superstition against water and walked all the way, making the journey harder, longer, and as a result, thousands died. Ultimately, I felt like if Major and John Ridge could have been allowed to lead the people out, the people would have relocated earlier, before the tensions got so bitter, and it would have been a much different story. In Arkansas, blame and resentment were pinned on Major and John Ridge and other progressive Native Americans, and they were all brutally murdered. Everyone suspected John Ross but no one could prove it.

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