Read In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen Online

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Afterward Martin Garbus, 1st edition 1991...

Title : In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Author :
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ISBN : 9780670836178
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 645 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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In the Spirit of Crazy Horse Reviews

  • Liz Muñoz
    2019-05-07 20:56

    This book really affected me. It made me angry at the injustice that happened to these people. Mattiessen really did his research for this book. It's a detailed account of the incident at Wounded Knee in the 70's, AIM (American Indian Movement) and the trials that followed thereafter. Thankfully, the FBI lost in it's attempt to prevent this book from being published. It's an important book and we have the right to learn about the attrocities committed against the Native Americans. I feel strongly that this should be required reading in high school. This is not an easy read, but will definitely keep you interested. I also recommend watching the documentary "Incident at Oglala: The Leonard Pelteir Story".

  • Socraticgadfly
    2019-04-30 21:13

    Free Leonard Peltier!Why?Well, you have to read this book, but here's a synopsis that nobody but the most diehard 1970s FBI defender can try to deny.Matthiessen documents years of FBI spying on the American Indian Movement, including "turning" insiders, coupled with intimidation tactics and more. Often the FBI in South Dakota was working, if not hand in hand, at least on parallel tracks in this thuggery with folks such as a corrupt Pine Ridge Indian Reservation leadership, then-Attorney General and now disgraced former Congressman Bill Janklow, BIA cops and more.While Matthiesen looks at bits and pieces of AIM's history elsewhere, he focuses on Pine Ridge and its Sioux, as this area, through things such as a temporary takeover of Mount Rushmore, was a center of AIM activity.In trials related to the events in and around Pine Ridge, FBI agents repeatedly intimidated witnesses into changing testimony, coached witnesses, sprung last-minute surprise witnesses at trials (which is against the law, if you didn't know), suborned perjury and otherwise made a mockery of justice.Things reached a climax June 26, 1975 when two FBI agents approached the Jumping Bull property on the Pine Ridge Reservation, ostensibly looking for Jimmy Eagle on a weapons charge. According to all Indian accounts, the two agents began opening fire on the property.Both were eventually shot in a return of fire. They were later killed at close range.After three other AIM leaders at the site were all acquitted of murder charges in the FBI agents' deaths, the FBI appeared determined to hang the case on Peltier by any legal or illegal means possible.Aided by a viciously biased judge giving one-sided bench rulings, the government did exactly that.Read how things reached this point, what AIM's grievances were, how the FBI infiltrated them, and more.But, above all, read the story of Leonard Peltier both before and after his conviction.Is Leonard Peltier a political prisoner? Read this book and decide for yourself.

  • Evan
    2019-05-21 23:14

    Elegant, passionate investigative muckraking in the grand style: messy, gnarly, informative, memorable and anger-inducing. This is a sweeping, detailed novelistic tour de force that raises more questions than it answers and sometimes has you questioning the author's veracity while at the same time having you shaking your head in agreement over his findings and conclusions. In investigating the state's case against Leonard Peltier and his cohorts, Matthiessen presents a disgraceful historical litany of the underlying causes of American Indian anger. This book ends on an enigmatic and somewhat unsatisfactory note, but in getting there is a mind-massaging and unforgettable journey, and should be required reading for all Americans.([email protected], read in 2008; reviewed retrospectively in 2016)

  • Sean Kottke
    2019-05-06 23:24

    This saga of the conflict between the U.S. government and Native Americans picks up where Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee leaves off, and makes the critical point that as excellent as that earlier book is, contemporary readers might get a false sense of complacency from it, that we live in a more enlightened age and the struggles exist in the past. This book, which focuses mainly on the events surrounding the shootout on the Pine Ridge reservation in 1975 and the story of Leonard Peltier, serves as a strong corrective to that. Ironically, the current edition contributes to that impression by ending on a positive note. After 16 years in prison, Leonard Peltier's case received increased media attention, and the book ends with optimistic visions of a long struggle finally coming to an end. However, the book's coverage ends in 1991. Twenty years later, Leonard Peltier is still in prison, and his defense committee hasn't produced a fresh newsletter or blog post in over three years. The only thing new on their website is a ticker that updates every second to document his total time of imprisonment, 13040 as of today.

  • Dan
    2019-05-07 02:09

    In the Spirit of Crazy Horse is one of the best non-fiction books that I have read. The story is a volatile cocktail of violence, poverty, intimidation and historical oppression. And then when the FBI gets involved the problems only escalate from there. This book logs in at nearly 800 pages. The first 200 pages are slow going and quite unnecessary if you already have background on modern Sioux history and the American Indian Movement. The story really gains traction with the events in the summer of 1975 surrounding the tragic shooout between FBI agents and Leonard Peltier and his associates. These events on the Pine Ridge Reservation are the central focus of the remainder of the book continuing right through the epilogue and afterword. This book was quite controversial when it was released in 1983 and for many decades since. The author, Peter Matthiessen, was certainly sympathetic to the members of the American Indian Movement. He was even sued by the governor of South Dakota and FBI agents because of the unflattering light in which they were portrayed. All of the claims of libel against Matthiessen were eventually dismissed after years of litigation. Following the dismissal of the libel suits, books could be sold again and by the 1990's the book and events were covered in some depth by the major networks. Why is this book is so riveting? First off, Matthiessen is a phenomenal writer pure and simple. Secondly Matthiessen incorporates a large amount of first hand research and quotes. He interviewed everybody associated with the American Indian movement and those witnesses of the tragic events. Lastly Matthiessen lays a seemingly exhaustive set of facts out there for the reader to interpret. Ultimately Matthiessen states his belief in Leonard Peltier's innocence. Few people today contest whether the FBI fabricated evidence, but I don't share the same view that Peltier is innocent nor did I buy the concocted story of Mr. X. When the FBI accuses you of murder, it's best to not try and pin it on a Mr. X and refuse to provide his identity. The fundamental themes of this book center on oppression, dispossession and aggression. Regarding the latter there is an FBI agent, the one who later sues the author, who describes why law enforcement uses overwhelming force in dealing with these movements, even though this is almost certainly going to lead to violence. A force of 200 law enforcement vs. 30 suspects may seem overwhelming to a lay person but he says they want 1000 men because no FBI agent wants to die for just doing their job. So you see this life and death tug-of-war play out between law enforcement against an aggrieved people, some of whom have very checkered pasts. To a large degree that is what makes this book so riveting. It is about multiple miscarriages of justice. The situation evokes sympathy for FBI agents and their families in a no win situation and then their predictable reactions when there are no willing eyewitnesses who come forward regarding the executions. The story evokes sympathy for people who live on a reservation with murder rates far exceeding the worst American cities. The story evokes sympathy for the plight of Native Americans when the U.S. government does not live up to its treaties and commits the same sins of aggressions like those at Wounded Knee nearly a hundred years earlier. In summary, it's a thought provoking book by an author who is honest about where his sympathies lie.

  • J.
    2019-05-04 01:24

    I read this book in 1992 as part of a graduate American Indian Law seminar conducted at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) with Dr. Glenn Morris - the head of the Denver chapter of AIM as the instructor. It was one of more than several books used in the seminar but certainly for me one of the more memorable and influential. Also, the now infamous Dr. Ward Churchill was a guest instructor on several occasions. He never represented himself as a Tribal member and although the courts have questioned his ancestry and his scholarship, having been in the classroom with him I would not question his intellectual endowment. He struck this observer as a thoughtful and brilliant man however you might feel about his ideas. The book inspired me greatly and as a result I have had the good fortune to have worked with tribal governments since 1995 leading and conducting government-to-government consultations to the present day with hundreds of consultations completed. I've visited Pine Ridge, SD numerous times and all the other reservations in the book - which frankly has been a dream come true. I highly recommend the book and I believe whatever side of the argument you fall on you will find the book thoughtful and entertaining and perhaps even inspiring.

  • Karis North
    2019-04-24 02:58

    Detailed almost to the point of excrutiating, but overall excellent recitation of the events leading up to the killing of 2 FBI agents in Oglala, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Matthiesen's research is painstaking, and once I realized how the book was organized it made sense and I could follow it (he hides his explanation in the notes for each section). The facts are incredibly convoluted, and there are so many layers to what happened. Matthiesen does a pretty good job of tryin to sort it all out. I'm not sure I'm convinced of Peltier's "innocence" but I certainly believe that justice was miscarried in the desparate acts of the FBI and the office of the US Attorney, to get vengance for the killings.

  • Gary Butler
    2019-04-27 20:01

    33rd book read in 2017.Number 339 out of 598 on my all time book list.

  • Chinook
    2019-04-23 20:54

    This is the longest audiobook I've listened to so far - and I'm glad it occurred to me to speed it up a bit because I was enjoying the information provided but it was starting to drag on a bit long and the library hold was about to expire for the second time. I think this is a good book for everyone to better understand the background to the No DAPL movement. The connection isn't made until much later in the book, but it's eventually suggested that the attempts by the FBI to disrupt AIM and liken them to communists was driven by land grabs for resources, especially related to power production. It also ties into a lot of he work being done right now to show the abuses by police and courts against innocent suspects that was made popular by Serial. I found the background to the book being suppressed by court cases fascinating as well.

  • Vicki
    2019-05-10 20:58

    This is an important book, and I'm impressed with the amount of research and time Matthiessen put into it, and I think the story needed to be told. That said, I spent the vast majority of it wishing that an unbiased journalist would come shove him away from his computer, steal his notes, and take over writing the book for him. I agree with him on pretty much everything, but still he was so biased that he undermined his own point of view. At one point he actually argued that the fact that the murder of an Indian on an Indian reservation was even investigated was proof of conspiracy against Indians. And if that's not enough for you, he spends many other parts of the book arguing that failure to investigate murders of Indians is proof of governmental indifference to the plight of Indians on reservations.Look, Matthiessen, I appreciate your hard work, and I overwhelmingly agree with you, both in perspective and conclusions. But your editor did you no favors by not calling you on your bullshit. I stopped reading this book in irritation about 300 pages in and never would've picked it back up if I hadn't seen the movie William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe.

  • Ian
    2019-04-26 01:59

    I don't think you can hold the shortcomings of this book against Matthiessen. As with any complicated, partisan event, each perspective offers only one piece of the patchwork. And this is an important one, even if some of the information that's emerged since its publication challenges some of aspects of Peltier's defenders' arguments.Nonetheless, the book is commendable for its examination of the renewed wars against Native Americans as the coal, oil and uranium under their lands became increasingly important to industry interests. And although it's hard to judge the extent to which he was impartially critical of the evidence of government wrongdoing in the case -- what he pulls together is pretty staggering, a good civics reminder.As a journalist, I would have preferred he erred more on the side of explictly sourcing more of his material.

  • Ray
    2019-04-26 02:19

    This is a lengthly and sobering account of the American Indian Movement in the 60's and 70's, and the continuing conflict between Native Americans and the U.S. Government. There are references to broken treaties between our government and Indian tribes, racism, and the poor conditions on Indian Reservations. The main element of the book concerns Leonard Pelteir, convicted of murdering two FBI agents on a reservation during a shoot-out between Native Americans and the FBI. Apparently, the publishing of this book was delayed by eight years due to lawsuits brought by the FBI to prevent damaging information about its conduct leading up to the incident, and during the prosecution of the case. Matthiessen was clearly sympathetic to the Indian cause, but it's not hard to understand why. The book does a good job in telling a neglected story, but it's a sad reminder of past unjustices.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-21 21:20

    This book recounts an almost unbelievable tale of corruption and serves as a good reminder of just how ineffective and horrifying the justice system becomes in the hands of people with political agendas. Sure, this account was biased, but it doesn't change the fact that a man was purposely railroaded and denied every ounce of fair treatment and the ability, through the withholding of evidence, for a fair trial. Nor does it seem that the actions taken against the American Indian Movement, however they could be spun, could be adequately explained away. There is simply no sound justification for these things in a free society.The book is massive, and it needs to be in order to unravel the layers and layers of this story and the surrounding circumstances. It is diligently researched and thoughtfully written, though at times it becomes overwhelming. It was an important book to read, and I enjoyed it in the way I enjoy a lot of textbooks. My middle of the road rating merely indicates that as a piece of literature, I just can't quite equate it with some others that I truly love. Still, as a work that examines power, corruption, and the silencing of a political group, it seems a very important one to read.

  • Sasha
    2019-05-13 22:19

    If you want to learn about what the FBI did to the American Indian Movement in the 1960s and 1970s with COINTELPRO and you want to learn about the events that led to the wrongful imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, then read this book. We didn't stop oppressing and killing Indians in the 1800s...

  • Mr.B
    2019-04-21 20:16

    Nonfiction. Two words... Leonard Peltier. Two more words... Oglala Shoot-out. Two more words... FBI tampering. Enough said.

  • Jason Williams
    2019-05-21 01:55

    Not sure if I'm going to finish this one. I'm about 150 pages in and it is getting laborious.Published in 1980, Spirit of Crazyhorse has that same tone of righteous indignation as Zinn's People's History published around the same time. But Mathiessen doesn't/didn't know how to or didn't want to skim over any details, which makes for an indignant rambling of fact and name after fact and name that lacks narrative cohesion. Nor is their any suspicion as to his argument or conclusion, so nothing interesting on that end of things either. This book simply doesn't read well in the 21st century unless you are looking for something very specific about the AIM or are just fishing for more reasons to distrust American government. The latter, I think, is the mood Mathiessen was capitalizing on.I believe Peltier should be free and I lament the rapacious and furtive dealings with the First Nations and their lands. I admire the extensive research that went into this book, but the writing itself isn't good to me.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-06 23:59

    One of those books you have to read. Peter Matthiessen's book 'In the Spirit of Crazy Horse' concerns the conviction of Leonard Peltier for the murder of 2 FBI agents. Although aware of the issues faced by Native American indians, I was completely taken aback by the sheer level of injustice and corruption involved in sending this man to jail. I was even more shocked to find he was still in prison. Read the book - it's well researched, balanced and very detailed - and make up your own mind. I've just signed Amnesty's petition to Obama. Will you? I don't think anyone could read this and not want to do something.

  • Teacatweaves
    2019-04-22 00:12

    The author's message gets lost by going into too many extraneous events. It's confusing to try and keep the trail of names straight. It seems to me that a lot of people contributed to this gross miscarriage of justice. It's nauseating that up to this day, it still hasn't been corrected.

  • Dave
    2019-04-21 21:00

    A compelling and passionate plea on how Leonard Peltier was railroaded by the injustice system that always seems to be working to undermine Indian sovereignty. Sadly not only is Leonard still incarcerated, but this book continues to be as relevant and important to read as it was upon publication.

  • Marco Etheridge
    2019-04-27 02:07

    An important book with an important post-publication history. Copies of this book were suppressed by the FBI and others in US government. Read Banned Books!

  • AimlessLady
    2019-04-28 21:03

    Well researched, well written, and very informative. Excellent read.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-23 03:18

    Wow. I had no idea this happened. I'm so disgusted with all the lies, coverups, and hate. This is a very long book at 600+ pages but it was so worth it.

  • John Nielsen Boyack
    2019-04-24 20:55

    Impressed by recent movement, I finally decided to finish this book. Rewarding, to say very little of its impact to me personally, and its impact on the American Public. The first several chapters are so painful to read if one holds even an ounce of empathy for the indigenous tribes of this continent, particularly under what I'll simply call the "jurisdiction", or care, of the ever-powerful United States Government. Read it, then www.honorthetreaties.org.Just a few, short quotes to share, although each chapter heading is filled with the wisdom of Indian Way, and the rest of pages packed with intensity and insight."Our main problem is to forget the past, help promote people to improve--don't call another man a thief or rapist. We don't agree with the priests here, who won't bury a bootlegger; their job is to pray for them, not to refuse them." Moves Camp raised his eyes to mine. "One of these days, everything will turn; it's slow but it's coming. For the last two years, here in Oglala, we have had sun dances again. We have to re-educate the people to Indian way: don't choose this table over this man"--he rapped the table--"because you can make another table but you cannot make this man again. The white man will learn, too, they say, but we're not supposed to teach him everything at once, he must redevelop in a natural way." ~ Sam Moves Camp, p. 528(While campaigning in South Dakota, Ronald Reagan had said, "We will honor all treaties"; instead, the Reagan administration, while doing its best to prop up the nuclear and armaments industries, had eliminated over four hundred jobs on the job-poor Pine Ridge Reservation and gutted the funding for social services such as the crisis center for would-be suicides. By the end of Reagan's first year in office, the cutbacks in social services and assistance programs--very serious for all poor people in America--were estimated to be ten times as severe in Indian country as they were elsewhere, with worse to come.) ~ Peter Mathiessen, p. 531We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. The Great Spirit gave us plenty of land to live on, and buffalo, deer, antelope, and other game. But you have come here; you are taking my land from me; you are killing off our game, so it is hard for us to live. Now, you tell us to work for a living, but the Great Spirit did not make us to work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say, why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them. ~ Crazy Horse (Lakota) p. iv"What does this Mount Rushmore mean to us Indians?" asked John Fire Lame Deer. "It means that these big white faces are telling us, "First we gave you Indians a treaty that you could keep these Black Hills forever, as long as the sun would shine, in exchange for all of the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana. Then we found the gold and took this last piece of land, because we were stronger, and there were more of us than there were of you, and because we had cannons and Gatling guns, while you hadn't even progressed far enough to make a steel knife. And when you didn't want to leave, we wiped you out, and those of you who survived we put on reservations. And then we took the gold out, a billion bucks, and we aren't through yet. And because we like the tourist dollars, too, we have made your sacred Black Hills into one vast Disneyland. And after we did all this we carved up this mountain, the dwelling place of your spirits, and put our four gleaming white faces here. We are the conquerors." . . .One man's shrine is another man's cemetery, except that now a few white folks are also getting tired of having to look at this big paperweight curio. We can't get away from it. You could make a lovely mountain into a great paperweight, but can you make it into a wild, natural mountain again? I don't think you have the know-how for that. . . . Maybe it's not too late to put an elevator under this whole shrine of democracy--press a button and the whole monument disappears. And once a week--say, every Sunday from nine to eleven--you press the button again and those four heads come up again with the music going full blast. The guys who got an astronaut on the moon should be able to do this much for us Indians, artists and nature lovers. ~ John Fire Lame Deer, pp. xxxix-xl

  • James F
    2019-05-08 20:20

    One of the most important events happening in the country today, though eclipsed in the media by the Clinton-Trump circus, is the resistance by Native Americans and their allies to the Dakota Access Pipeline. This book is important background to the Standing Rock struggle. Despite the mention of Crazy Horse in the title, this is not a book about the nineteenth century genocide against the Indians, which is covered in a first chapter only as background. What it is, is an account of the resurgence of traditional Indian beliefs and the defense of Indian lands against the energy companies and the government beginning in the 1960s, largely though not entirely through the influence of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and the government's attempt to destroy that movement, culminating in the trial and imprisonment of Leonard Peltier. This is not an impartial account, but an indictment of the United States government's disregard of law, due process, and elementary decency in their campaign against a movement that threatened the profits of the energy companies. The book does not gloss over the faults of AIM, which are admitted by many of the AIM leaders themselves; they had a confrontational strategy and an unrealistic view of the possibilities of armed struggle against the government, and did not seek the sort of alliances that might have aided their cause -- the Black Hills Alliance and other attempts to unite with the general environmental movement, which led up to the current movement at Standing Rock, all came later. However, the book also documents that most of the important confrontations were forced on the activists by the government, the corrupt and violent tribal government on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and the right-wing vigilante groups, and that there was an element of paranoia on the part of the FBI (remember this was the era of COINTELPRO) which resulted in a virtual state of war, with murders, rapes, assaults, and home invasions on the part of the FBI and the BIA and their supporters. The judicial process was constantly subverted in all the trials of AIM activists, not just in the case of Leonard Peltier. The book is divided into three parts; the first part is background on AIM and the Wounded Knee occupation, the second part deals with the shoot-out for which Peltier was arrested and the trials, and the final part deals with the struggle to get the conviction overturned. I remember that the first significant political meeting I ever attended, was to hear an AIM spokesman, Lee Brightman, talk about Wounded Knee at the Upper West Side Militant Forum in New York, when I was a college student. This is a book that is difficult to read, simply because it made me so angry I had to stop reading every few minutes to cool off. I hope it has the same effect on other readers. After being published in 1983, it was suppressed due to lawsuits by Governor Janklow of South Dakota, and an FBI agent mentioned in the book; it was not republished until 1991. Leonard Peltier remains in prison; every President from Bush through Obama has refused to pardon him or commute his sentence, despite the documentation of government misconduct, falsified evidence and lack of due process at the trial.Although Matthiessen was a good writer, this is not a particularly well-written book. Perhaps because of the mass of information he had to deal with, it is poorly organized and much of the information is presented out of order, skipping backwards and forwards in a confusing way; and often it was hard to remember who some of the minor characters were when they reappear later on. The information about the role of the energy companies in the Black Hills, which makes sense out of the whole government policy, is introduced at the beginning of Part III. But for all its faults, this is an important book for anyone who wants to know what lengths the US government will go to to crush dissent when it threatens the interests of the energy companies, as we are seeing today at Standing Rock and elsewhere. As I was reading this, and also following Standing Rock on the Internet (it's not being adequately covered in the media) I saw two other things: the largest land grab of Indian lands since the nineteenth century is being considered now in Congress; and one of my Facebook friends was just arrested tonight for protesting another pipeline in New York.

  • Suzanne Arcand
    2019-04-21 21:56

    How one talk about a book that is so bias and so necessary? The author Peter Matthiessen does not pretend to be objective but admits up front that this book was written to right a grievous injustice.An injustice that didn’t start with the incident in Oglala in which three people were killed, an Indian and two FBI agents who were shot at close range, and of whose death Leonard Peltier has been held responsible and for which he is still doing time. While this incident and the “frame up” of Leonard Peltier are the obvious subjects of the book, the author puts them in context by going back to the Wounded Knee massacre and the decades of injustice that lead to this 1975 shoot out. To understand, even just a little, the frame of mind of the Indian protagonists, one as to walk a little in their shoes and this is what Mathiessen does by telling of the oppression, the injustice and the poverty that has been their lot.Reading this book I could not help being moved by the strength and leadership of the AIM leaders who had decided that they had enough. In front of such injustice they showed a lot of discipline. Mathiessien doesn’t make them out to be saints. He shows them with their flaws and all but he always portray them with compassion.The author did a very thorough research and, in his effort to show us the context and clear Peltier’s name he goes into minute details about the lives of the protagonists, the incident of 1975 itself and the trial. So much so, that I had difficulties at times following the different characters - especially when the book moves back and forth in time - but at other times the book reads like a legal thriller.When I closed the book, felt that I knew these people better and I wanted to learn more about what happened to them since the book was published. I also wanted to know more about the life and death of Annie May Aquash, who is one of the major women characters in this book. Was I convinced about Peltier’s innocence? Not necessarily, but I was convinced that there was ground for a new trial.As with any book discussing the plight to the North American Indian I can’t help feeling guilty. I am descendant of the people who took their land and the prosperity of my people was founded on pillage and genocide of their ancestors. There is also the fact that I live in a country, Canada, where there are pockets of people living in third world conditions and that a lot of those people are from the First Nation. A book such as “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” is still necessary thirty years after it was published because, over and over again, Indians have been victims of racism and injustice. Even as I’m writing, the authorities and the public are showing cruel indifference the hundred of aboriginal women who have gone missing in Canada.As Dino Butler wrote:We must always fight for what we believe in. We must never tire in our fight. It does not really matter how we fight what matters is what we are fighting for.So for the scope of the book and its righteous aim, I give it four stars.

  • Suzanne Arcand
    2019-05-20 01:59

    How one talk about a book that is so bias and so necessary? The author Peter Matthiessen does not pretend to be objective but admits up front that this book was written to right a grievous injustice.An injustice that didn’t start with the incident in Oglala in which three people were killed, an Indian and two FBI agents who were shot at close range, and of whose death Leonard Peltier has been held responsible and for which he is still doing time. While this incident and the “frame up” of Leonard Peltier are the obvious subjects of the book, the author puts them in context by going back to the Wounded Knee massacre and the decades of injustice that lead to this 1975 shoot out. To understand, even just a little, the frame of mind of the Indian protagonists, one as to walk a little in their shoes and this is what Mathiessen does by telling of the oppression, the injustice and the poverty that has been their lot.Reading this book I could not help being moved by the strength and leadership of the AIM leaders who had decided that they had enough. In front of such injustice they showed a lot of discipline. Mathiessien doesn’t make them out to be saints. He shows them with their flaws and all but he always portray them with compassion.The author did a very thorough research and, in his effort to show us the context and clear Peltier’s name he goes into minute details about the lives of the protagonists, the incident of 1975 itself and the trial. So much so, that I had difficulties at times following the different characters - especially when the book moves back and forth in time - but at other times the book reads like a legal thriller.When I closed the book, felt that I knew these people better and I wanted to learn more about what happened to them since the book was published. I also wanted to know more about the life and death of Annie May Aquash, who is one of the major women characters in this book. Was I convinced about Peltier’s innocence? Not necessarily, but I was convinced that there was ground for a new trial.As with any book discussing the plight to the North American Indian I can’t help feeling guilty. I am descendant of the people who took their land and the prosperity of my people was founded on pillage and genocide of their ancestors. There is also the fact that I live in a country, Canada, where there are pockets of people living in third world conditions and that a lot of those people are from the First Nation. A book such as “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” is still necessary thirty years after it was published because, over and over again, Indians have been victims of racism and injustice. Even as I’m writing, the authorities and the public are showing cruel indifference the hundred of aboriginal women who have gone missing in Canada.So for the scope of the book and its righteous aim, I give it four stars.

  • Nicholas Sly
    2019-05-04 23:58

    An engrossing but frustrating book. Make no mistake, this is not an unbiased account of the events on the plains Indian reservations in the 1970s. The account is heavily slanted towards making the Indians look like innocent victims trampled by the government and societal forces, including leaning too heavily on unverifiable stories and what amounts to conspiracy theories, and not always presenting 'the other side' or attempting to put together all the stories into a carefully documented account of what probably happened (I'm talking here mostly about the violence and crimes leading up to and following the Pine Ridge shootout that is the main focus of the book, that event is exhaustively examined).I certainly believe that the Indians then and always have gotten a very raw deal, and an unbiased depiction of events would still heavily slant in their favor. At the same time, Matthiessen heavily defends in this book people who were undeniable mixed up in violent events including running guns and explosives, and yet attempts to portray them as good, stand-up community leaders. Matthiessen is very plain that he believes that Peltier, Butler, and Robideau are innocent in the execution of the FBI agents on the Pine Ridge reservation. After reading his thesis I am convinced that, even though they may not have fired the shots that executed the agents, and they were probably railroaded through the judicial system by a very biased Federal Government, these are not innocent men. By their own admission, they were shooting at the agents from afar, they approached the agents, and they without a doubt watched the execution of the agents if it wasn't themselves pulling the trigger. Their defense, in their trials and the case that Matthiessen tries to make, is that the state of fear, violence, murders, and what amounts to a near civil war within the reservation at the time explains why these men picked up their guns and started firing when approached by FBI agents. It's not a thesis that makes a lot of sense to me. Matthiessen's dedication to defending these men was thus off-putting, and ultimately why I didn't rate it higher.One other minor note: Although for the most part I love Matthiessen's writing style and it was a very enjoyable read (despite its length and amount of detail), I did notice that in certain sections Matthiessen relies too heavily on bulk quotes to form the narrative. It can often be difficult to keep track of who is providing the narrative of events, and Matthiessen rarely provides the context in which witnesses recounted these events and gave their narratives. Such information was probably relegated to the extensive endnotes, but including the context of the quotations in the main body (when are people recounting them? to whom?) would be useful for considering them.

  • Ted Diamond
    2019-05-09 00:59

    There are so many good reviews of this book already, I hesitate to write another one. What can I bring to the table? Oh well, here goes.In 1974, I happened to be in the right place, at the right time. Dee Brown's "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" had hit the bookshelves in 1970, and by 1974, eyes were opening to the history of injustice in the relations between whites and Native Americans. Our high school play that year was an original script based loosely on Brown's narrative. We studied the history, imagined the characters, and lived the story for the several months it took us to prepare and present the play.Very shortly after that, we started to see mentions in the press about a standoff at Pine Ridge, and the shooting of FBI agents.We didn't connect the two. Wounded Knee was history; Pine Ridge was news.To me, this is the crucial role that Peter Matthiessen's "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" plays in writings about white-Native American relations. "Bury My Heart," as appalling the story it tells may be, tells history. It is done. It is a time past. Even the sepia-toned cover of the book suggests that these are bygone days, and the story is written.Peter Matthiessen reminds us that the story is still being written. His jumps in time can be disconcerting, but they serve to tie together elements of this story unfolding in multiple periods: the subjugation and destruction of the way of life of the Sioux and Cheyenne in the 19th century; the attempts to wrest land rights away from the Oglala Sioux in the early 1970's, using a brutal puppet tribal government; the events leading up to the shoot-out; the government's manufacture of a case against Leonard Peltier; the attempt to assassinate Peltier in prison; the attempts to squash Matthiessen's book, and prevent any account other than the government's from being told.Thirty years have passed since "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" was published. And the story is still being written. In the latest incarnation, it is not roads or railroads that we want to build through Sioux lands, to slake a thirst for gold. Now, the driving force is a thirst for oil, and we seek to build a pipeline through lands considered sacred by the Sioux.

  • Siobhan Noble
    2019-05-02 02:07

    picked up this book after enjoying Mathiessen's book "The Snow Leopard" and was instantly hooked. Mathiessen's abilities as a writer and a storyteller make this huge book a fascinating page-turner. The book will draw you into the incident at Oglala, and will raise your consciousness about issues affecting American Indians, especially the Lakota Indians. After reading this book, I feel I'm a changed person. I know Mathiessen has been accused of being biased towards the Indian cause, but I think actually, he takes great pains to try and present the other side, and perhaps his efforts backfire at times -- in trying to remain neutral, the story at times can seem to lack cohesion. But as a fellow truth-seeker, I appreciate the effort to present the other side. Mathiessen breathes life into court transcripts and FBI reports, and otherwise mundane events. I'll close with a quote from the book, in which he describes a scene and considers the FBI agents perhaps understandable rationale in destroying a private home: "The noisy assault on upon the cabins disclosed that the defenders had made a near miraculous escape through the small army of agents and police that surrounded the compound and camp area; there was nobody left here at all. The large force of sweating, nervous men in their new battle fatigues, with their sniper and chemical warfare teams, their APC's and air support, felt frustrated and foolish; after all that shooting had subsided, all the smoke and gas had blown away, there was only this solitary Indian, killed much earlier in the day, lying beside the small green cabin on the bluff. Outraged by what looked like a cold-blooded murder of their comrades, and sickened by the two dead bodies with their shattered faces, already swelling after four hours in the sun and thick heat, the frustrated men took out their wrath on the ruined cabins." It is this prose, this storytelling that will draw the reader in.

  • MaryJo
    2019-04-22 20:01

    I downloaded this book from Audible the week before Peter Mattiessen died, and listening to it when the obits came out. Then the NYTimes magazine ran an article about an investigation into the death of Anna Mae Aquash. The book had been on my "list" for along time,so that all reinforced my desire to read the book. I was not aware of the legal controversies surrounding the book, the eight years of suppression while Mattiessen and Viking, his publisher, were being sued for libel, first by the former governor of North Dakota and second by one of the FBI agents he interviews for the book. Both suits were dismissed on first amendment grounds. I remember all the “Free Leonard Peltier“ posters, but I have always been a little bit hazy as to what the case was actually about. In my mind I had conflated the 1973 “Wounded Knee Incident” with the Pine Ridge Shoot out. Mattiessen’s careful reporting spells out the story in great detail. In some ways story of AIM sounds a lot like other radical movements of the 60s, addressing serious problems, but fraught with internal issues (as in Anna May's story where AIM insiders were convicted of her murder, but there were always questions because of infiltration by eh FBI and being constantly beleaguered by federal and local law enforcement. (Some of this is familiar from the histories of SNCC and the Black Panthers, the lives of people like Bayard Rustin, and others in the Weather underground, and the GLBT movements.) Mattiessen fills us in on the specific context of the Pine Ridge reservation and the American Indian Movement at a defining moment. The focus, however, is really on Peltier and a few other leaders. The narrative is powered by the drive find out who actually killed the 2 FBI agents ( something that is not exactly resolved) and the ongoing legal battles of Peltier.