Mist Before the Rising Sun
ISBN 1607498219 (1-60749-821-9)
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Softcover, PublishAmerica, 2009
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Book summary: For those readers familiar with the Indian Wars, the forty years of bloodshed for control of the Great Plains during and after the Civil War, mention of the epic fight on the Arickaree Fork of the Republican River known as battle of Beecher or Beecher's Island, conjures images of heroism, sacrifice and survival, suffering unimaginable hardships against insurmountable odds. The distinction is well deserved. For the generation of Americans for whom this was not history but living experience, Beecher Island was a storied confirmation of the nation's triumphal march across the continent towards its destiny.
To most Americans today, however, the Beecher Island battle, fought between September 16-26, 1868,on the gently undulating plains of northeastern Colorado's Yuma County, between what are today the small towns of Wray and Idalia, just west of the Kansas-Colorado border, scarcely elicits notice.
There are many understandable reasons why this is so not least among them the reality that exploring history is ever a selective, exclusionary and subjective endeavor. As both archival record and collective memory, subject as it always is to bias, imprecision and the "presentism" of ideology, politics, and culture, history is inescapably contingent and derivative.
Withal, Mist Before the Rising Sun explores the complex political and social currents roiling through the last decades of the nineteenth-century, when America's push beyond the Missouri River brought into sharp relief both the realities of a racially divided nation, and a nation determined to dispossess and, if required, exterminate a civilization it considered expendable and irrelevant.
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