February 18, 2018

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Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender by S.D. Nelson | SLJ Review

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redstarNELSON, S.D. Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender. 64p. bibliog. illus. notes. photos. Abrams. Mar. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781419723131.

Gr 4-6 –Chief Red Cloud (1822–1909) is known as an Oglala Lakota leader who acquiesced to the demands of United States and entered into a treaty despite opposition from other Lakota leaders. The treaty forever changed the lifestyle of the Lakota and forced them to relinquish their freedom, homelands, and indigenous ways of being to live on a reservation. The story is told in the first person from Chief Red Cloud’s perspective. The text successfully explains what happened on both sides and why Red Cloud took a controversial stance in opposition to other leaders such as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Nelson, author of numerous award-winning books, including Sitting Bull: Warrior and Defender of His People, has once again carefully researched, documented, and crafted a nuanced and valuable work of history. Though Red Cloud’s story has been told many times before, students will not want to miss out on Nelson’s take. The graphics are a combination of 19th-century Lakota ledger art and digitally enhanced sepia-toned period photos. VERDICT Readers will appreciate this complex look at Chief Red Cloud, who under duress, unimaginable trauma, and starvation made a difficult choice. A first purchase for school and public libraries.–Naomi Caldwell, Alabama State University, Montgomery

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2017 issue.

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