Skip to content
Paperback The Wild Frontier Book

ISBN: 0375758569

ISBN13: 9780375758560

The Wild Frontier

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: New

Save $1.76!
List Price $19.00

50 Available

Book Overview

The real story of the ordeal experienced by both settlers and Indians during the Europeans' great migration west across America, from the colonies to California, has been almost completely eliminated from the histories we now read. In truth, it was a horrifying and appalling experience. Nothing like it had ever happened anywhere else in the world. In The Wild Frontier, William M. Osborn discusses the changing settler attitude toward the Indians over...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

My strongest recommendation

An excellent, excellent book describing a side of the American-Indian war that is frequently hinted at but never fully explored. Thorough and well-documented. The author presents a serious account rather than sentimentalizing the facts of our nation's history.

A look at the brutal underbelly of the Indian Wars

This book details the long list of savagery that was committed in the long-running Indian War from the time of the first European settlement in North America to the closing the frontier in the late 1800's. No side emerges with completely clean hands for there is plenety of barbaric behavior to go around from Europeans burning alive Indians in a house to Mohawks slowly burning and torturing to death two teenaged female colonists. Everything (especially the demise of a colonist captured by the Shawnee) is described in grisly detail, and it is enough to destroy your faith in all humanity. There is no room here for "Dances With Wolves" or any sentiment like it. It should be required reading for those interested in the Indian Wars.

Telling it like it was

This book does what has needed to be done by presenting in stark terms the savagery of the American Indian Wars. It is gory reading much of the time, but I disagree with a previous reviewer in that I think Mr. Osborn knows exactly where he is taking his reader. His final chapters are a sound capstone to his cataloguing of the tremendous and horrendous atrocities that occurred. His theme basically deconstructs the nowadays familiar political tactic of "make whitey feel guilty". His book is a reminder that Indians committed many many horrible atrocities against innocent settlers, probably far in excess of those directly committed against the Indian. Sand Creek, the Trail of Tears, and Wounded Knee get all the attention of revisionist historians with present day agendas. These tragic incidents are dwarfed by the unspeakable atrocities endured by thousands of white settlers detailed here. This book will be disregarded by those inclined to political correctness, but as Mr. Osborn quotes of Abraham Lincoln: "History is not history unless it is the truth."

Required Reading in American History

One good thing about the 60s was that it was a transitional, and therefore more interesting, period between the traditional America that preceded it and the hypocritical and self destructive period that gave us the 90s. Nowhere is the transition more obvious than in Hollywood Westerns. Before then, the pioneers were "us" and Indians were the depersonalized "other" serving the same purpose as Germans and Japanese in war movies and monsters and aliens in science fiction. After the 60s, Hollywood got caught up in its self loathing dead end and the real Native Americans were replaced by virtuous stick figures to play against the evil blacks and whites who took their land. There is no difference beween the distortions of Tom Mix and Dances with Wolves, except that the earlier movies were better written. In the 60s, however, in movies like Ulzana's Raid and Duel at Diablo, you got a real sense that there were no good guys and bad guys - just a clash of cultures fought on a very bitter level. Now Mr. Osborn has brought the same honesty to the academic level by cataloging the massacres that occurred throughout the nearly 300 years of wars between settlers and Indians. This is an extremely important wake up call for the majority of academic historians whose work is crippled by a primitive form of manichaeism, forever taking sides without understanding them.The book does not take sides. It just attempts to list every crime by Native Americans against settlers, and by settlers against Native Americans. In doing so, it not only highlights the human drama of the Indian wars, but it shows how the bloodshed arose from mutual fear and distrust, rising in a vicious spiral as one atrocity created another.There are, of course, omissions in such an attempt at comprehensiveness: the murder of the religious leader Anne Hutchinson and her family in 17th Century Connecticut, for instance, was missed. But errors always crop up and can be corrected. What is important is just how thorough this work is.

"Must Reading" for anyone interested in the old West.

I had a chance to read this book recently. Over the last thirty odd years, since the publication of Dee Brown's BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, it has been fashionable to depict whites as the villains of the Indian Wars. In point of fact the story is far more complex, with more twists and turns. Indian tribes were at war with one another from before the arrival of the whites and in fact were often allied with whites against other tribes during the course of the 300 odd years of conflict. The Indian Wars were essentially guerrilla wars, and like all such wars evolved into a downward spiral of atrocity and counter-atrocity. You can see similar things happening in contemporary Latin America, where paramilitary forces battle guerrillas in Columbia. The author points out that often the hostilities were not the result of tribes or governments breaking treaties, but rather by individuals beyond the control of same. Indian "tribes" were often loosely controlled groups of culturally similar peoples. Only with the formation of various "Indian Police" on reservations, in the late 1800's was there any real control of individuals to attempt to restrain intertribal warfare, or even conflict between factions of a tribe. The knee-jerk reaction to a group raiding another tribe, or settlers, was to hold the larger "tribe" responsible, and often the resultant conflict generated atrocities by whites. One can see the same thing happening in the Middle-east, as one Palestinian group bombs a bus or nighclub, and the Israeli's retaliate on the Palestinians as a whole. It's a sad commentary on human nature. I would consider this book "Must Reading" for anyone interested in the old West and the Indian wars. I expect some will take this book, and maybe this review, to task. For the record I am a registered Democrat. The author points out how our acceptance of false history or myth has created problems in dealing with the present state of Indian relations. I see how this goes with other areas in the history of both America and the West. The author is a retired attorney and his sources are documented. Neither whites nor Indians come out of his book smelling like a rose. There is enough stupidity to go around, but the author offers a hopeful note at the end. If some of the acts detailed were to happen in the third world, as they still do, we would probably shake our heads. The Indian Wars were part of our evolution from a third world country, not too far distant in our past, to a hopefully more enlightened present and future.
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured