But now, sitting in front of my computer on a beautiful Saturday morning and with nothing else planned, I'll give you the lowdown.
I know this may have limited interest since it deals with the early history of the American southwest, but the book "Blood And Thunder", by author Hampton Sides, deals with a retelling of the exploits of American pioneer, tracker and mountain man Kit Carson and his dealings with the Navajo Nation, the American military and his own unquenchable yearning to live a life free from the entanglements of civilization.
Along the way author Sides gives interesting characterizations of personalities such as the Navajo leader Narbona, U.S. president James Polk, General James Henry Carleton who pursued a scorched earth policy with the Navajo Nation, and numerous other minor characters. Sides also covers the end of the Civil war in Texas, the preceding war of conquest in Mexico and the taking of California in an effort to explain the American belief in "Manifest Destiny".
In fact, if any non native born English readers wants to understand the American psyche in a better way then this book should go a long way in helping.
This is no "Cowboys and Indians" type book "soon to be made into a major motion picture", it is a for real history book minus all of the distracting footnotes often found in such texts. But it is NOT without attributions. Sides includes a large bibliography at the end of the book for those who require those type of things.
But at no time does this book feel like a "History" book. You know, the kind you used as a prop for you head while you slept through your high school history class.
This from a Washington Times review:
Although the campaign against the Navajo anchors Blood and Thunder, Sides also details a panoply of events surrounding the Mexican War and its aftermath. These include the taking of California from the Spanish and British, as well as the ill-fated and short-lived Bear Flag Rebellion; the last of the famed rendezvous of the mountain men at Green River, Utah; and the bedraggled Confederate army's failed attempt to extend the Confederacy into the Southwest. There was a constant undercurrent of outrage and barbarity on all fronts and among all principal parties, Americans, Spanish, Mexican and Indian. Toss in accounts of a number of explorers, fortune-seekers, scoundrels, politicians, inept military adventurers, madmen and fools, and it all begins to sound like a collaboration between Cormac McCarthy and Federico Fellini.
"...combining Larry McMurtry's lyricism with the historian's attachment to facts"
If this isn't enough to tickle your curiosity then history is not for you. I thoroughly enjoyed "Blood And Thunder" and will consider trying some of the author's other works as well.
I rate this book **** out of five.