Lakota America

Pekka Hamalainen


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Yale University Press
24 November 2020
ISBN: 9780300255256
544 pages

From the publisher

The first comprehensive history of the Lakota Indians and their profound role in shaping America's history
Named One of the New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2019 * Named One of the 10 Best History Books of 2019 by Smithsonian Magazine * Winner of the MPIBA Reading the West Book Award for narrative nonfiction
"All nations deserve to have their stories told with this degree of attentiveness."-Parul Sehgal, New York Times
"A briliant, bold, gripping history."-Simon Sebag Montefiore, London Evening Standard, Best Books of 2019
Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull are iconic figures in the American imagination, but in this groundbreaking book they emerge as something different: the architects of Lakota America, an expansive and enduring Indigenous regime that commanded human fates in the North American interior for generations. In this first complete account of the Lakota Indians Pekka Hamalainen traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty-first century. He explores the Lakotas' roots as marginal hunter-gatherers and reveals how they reinvented themselves twice: first as a river people who dominated the Missouri Valley, America's great commercial artery, and then-in what was America's first sweeping westward expansion-as a horse people who ruled supreme on the vast high plains.

Deeply researched and engagingly written, this history places the Lakotas at the center of American history, and the results are revelatory.