Blood and Thunder:
The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides is a sweeping, and epic portrait of the
conquest of the American west led by the biblical theme of Manifest
Destiny. Sides writes eloquently of the
subjugation of the native American tribes and the heroic but doomed effort to
keep and live on their ancestral lands.
Sides describes many characters both white and Indian who personified
each side of the struggle. Kit Carson is
the centerpiece of Sides’ story of the white man’s relentless movement west and
the destruction and devastation left in its wake. Written as a heroic and mythical figure in
the pulp fiction novels known as “Blood and Thunders”, Carson abhorred the
falseness and cartoon caricatures that they represented. The truth of his and other western characters
was fascinating enough without the hyperbole.
President James Polk is shown as the relentless advocate of the westward
movement and oblivious to anything that got in its way. The Navajos, led by Narbona and later
Manuelito were forced to live on reservations after their ultimate defeat in
various wars over the years that ended in failure and near starvation. Kit Carson later championed a plan to relocate
the Navajo to ancestral lands set aside for them to live peacefully. This is a well researched and breathtaking
narrative of the history of our great American Southwest.
A magnificent history of the American conquest of the West; "a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy" (The New York Times Book Review).
In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.
At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.
About the Author
A native of Memphis, Hampton Sides is editor-atlarge for Outside magazine and the author of the international best-seller, Ghost Soldiers (Doubleday), which was the basis for the 2005 Miramax film, The Great Raid. Ghost Soldiers won the 2002 PEN USA award for non-fiction and the 2002 Discover Award from Barnes & Noble, and his magazine work has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. Hampton is also the author of Americana (Anchor) and Stomping Grounds (William Morrow). A graduate of Yale with a B.A. in history, he lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons.
“Riveting . . . monumental . .. . Not only does Blood and Thunder capture a pivotal moment in U.S. history in marvelous detail, it is also authoritative and masterfully told.” —The Washington Post Book World“Stunning. . . Both haunting and lyrical, Blood and Thunder is truly a masterpiece.” —Los Angeles Times“We see a panorama and a whole history, intricately laced with wonder and meaning, coalesce into a story of epic proportions, a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy . . . Sides fills a conspicuous void in the history of the American West.” —N. Scott Momaday, The New York Times Book Review“From the lean crisp descriptions of the characters to the sights, sounds and smells of the trail, this is a crystal clear picture of the West.” —San Antonio Express News