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» » Children of Grace: The Nez Perce War of 1877 (Military Frontier)
Children of Grace: The Nez Perce War of 1877 (Military Frontier)


Bruce Hampton


Children of Grace: The Nez Perce War of 1877 (Military Frontier)



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Bison Books (September 1, 2002)







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Children of Grace: The Nez Perce War of 1877 (Military Frontier) by Bruce Hampton

Although the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) Indians gave instrumental help to Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition, they were rewarded by decades of invasive treaties and encroachment upon their homeland. In June 1877, the Nez Perce struck back and were soon swept into one of the most devastating Indian wars in American history. The conflict culminated in an epic twelve-hundred-mile chase as the U.S. Army pursued some eight hundred Nez Perce men, women, and children, who tried to fight their way to freedom in Canada.

In this enthralling account of the Nez Perce War, Bruce Hampton brings to life unforgettable characters from both sides of the conflict—warriors and women, common soldiers and celebrated generals. Looking Glass, White Bird, the legendary Chief Joseph, and fewer than three hundred warriors waged a bloody guerilla war against a modernized American army commanded by such famous generals as William Tecumseh Sherman, Nelson Miles, Oliver Otis Howard, and Philip Sheridan. Hampton also gives voice to the Native Americans from other tribes who helped the U.S. Army block the escape of the Nez Perce to Canada.

To call the events of 1877 a "war" is somewhat misleading. It was a pursuit, and though the Nez Perce repeatedly bested their pursuers, aside from the spurt of violence that made them military targets, the actions of the Nez Perce actions were entirely defensive. Basically the Nez Perce war was all about Nez Perce efforts to avoid being massacred.

There are a lot of works on the retreat of the non-treaty Nez Perce. This one falls into the category of avocational history. Hampton's Children of Grace probably won't impress academic historians, but he spins an engaging narrative that will hold your attention with its dramatic energy. His greatest strengths are character portraits and richly wrought battle scenes. There is blood and gore aplenty, and unlike most current academic accounts, in Hampton's narrative grotesque violence flows liberally in both directions.

It is a hard book to put down, even if you have heard the story many times before. You'll stay with it, even if you know how the story ends.
Stylish Monkey
An accurate rendering of one of the most moving and tragic stories of a shameful chapter in our history of dealing with a very noble, peaceful and very skillful people...the Nez Perce and our war with them. There is more to the Nez Perce than Chief Joseph, and Bruce Hampton tells it all in a mesmerizing history that moves much like a novel, suspenseful and thrilling at times, poignant and heart wrenching at others.
Fair and balanced representation of largely forgotten history.
In amazing detail, with a sweep of clear narrative. Since reading it, I've been back over much of the ground, and i can hear the author's voice in my head, helping me understand timings, routes, reasons and personalities. Highly recommended.
So many characters and battles. Well written and tons of references, but a bit tedious for me.
Children of Grace is one of those books that tells a story to which most of us have never been exposed. Certainly, we learn early and often about our conflicts with the Souix and Cheyenne, but not the Nez Perce. These are the people that helped Lewis and Clark. How then did we end up fighting them?

Bruce Hampton clearly shows the circumstances and humiliations that ultimately lead the Nez Perce to hit the warpath. One of the most revealing aspects of the ensuing conflict is that the U.S. Army's defeat by the Nez Perce as White Bird Canyon was as devastating as the Little Bighorn or the Fetterman Massacre. And yet how many of us, outside of Idaho, have heard of the battle fought at White Bird Canyon?? Sounds like a great script for a John Ford classic.(Maybe other reviewers can point out if this conflict has been made it onto film.)

Bruce Hampton brings to life an incredible journey undertaken by the Nez Perce as they pass through a huge area pursued by three separate U.S. Army commands. It's an incredible American story and one that is well worth the knowing.

You may have heard of Chief Joseph's famous quote, "...I will fight no more forever." Read this excellent volume to find out why this legendary figure of the American West said these words.
The story of Chief Joseph and the escape of the Nez Perce people through the Northwest towards Canada is an intriguing sidelight of the Native American saga. Bruce Hampton's incisive, engaging writing style enhances this compelling story. Hampton writes with authority and flair about a tale he has obviously carefully researched and is passionate about. His complete involvement with this tragic chapter in this tribe's history, strongly affected me.

I recommend "Children of Grace" to anyone even remotely interested in the history of the Native Americans.

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