April 18, 2015

A Sorrow In Our Heart by Allan Eckert

Wow, this is quite the tome!  It's always a constant surprise to me when I meet someone who hasn't heard of Tecumseh.  Being raised in Ohio, it was a name we learned early on in history (there was even a wonderful outdoor theatre program about him in Chillicothe).  Because his is a tale that comes from the other side of history, it's one that should be told, and this book goes above and beyond to bring the research for it.

Tecumseh was born under auspicious signs.  It was clear that from birth he would be a great leader.  Showing an aptitude for strategy and diplomacy from an early age, he rose through the ranks of the Shawnee quickly and was instrumental in joining the different tribes together to oppose the encroachment of the European/American settlers in Native American land.

This is historical fiction.  So while it is about real people, I can't say that everything in here happened as the author described it.  He of course took liberties with the characters personalities and conversation.  Was Tecumseh really so noble in all of his thoughts and actions?  We assume so because his history is documented and we have some of his letters.  But everyone has their flaws.  That being said the way he was presented here was very much positive and probably very close to the truth.  The information presented about his family was new to me.  I never realized what important roles they possessed in their community as well and how much support that he had in his endeavors.

This is a long book.  The book itself over a thousand pages, and the actual story over eight hundred.  It is so long because of all the footnotes and bibliography included at the end.  So you can tell that the author did some research before writing this biography.  Because the book is so big it moves at a very slow pace.  After awhile I found myself skimming as I didn't care about all the little military nuances and battle plans that were being described.   A history or military buff would probably be very interested in those sections though.  I preferred the conversations and descriptions of the land, of which there were plenty of chapters about too. 

Lots of information about a remarkable man.  If you've ever been curious about the history of Tecumseh, I'd say this is a good place to start.

A Sorrow in Our Heart
Copyright 1992
1068 pages

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