by Lucullus Virgil McWhorter
Publisher:Caxton Printers Ltd, 1984
How these peaceable and prosperous people were oppressed and persecuted, misunderstood, and badgered, beyond endurance and almost beyond honor, yet avoided war until fateful forces pushed them into it, is disclosed in sources made available to McWhorter by his Indian collaborators.
It is the Nez Perce War of 1877 which forms the major portion of the book, and, without doubt, here is the most exhaustive and thorough examination of that dramatic struggle, the last great Indian war on this continent.
It should be noted that HEAR ME, MY CHIEFS! is not an extension of YELLOW WOLF (the autobiography of one of the last surviving warriors of the Nez Perce War narrated to McWhorter), but a companion volume in which the entire story of the Nez Perce tribe is unfolded in an inclusive work of inestimable value.
Few men knew the heart and mind of the Indian so thouroughly as L.V. McWhorter, whose devotion to the Nez Perces did not rest in mere appreciation; but took permanent form by recording, through years of patient questioning, their legends and history. When Lucullus McWhorter died in 1944, the task was completed by his son, assisted by members of the staff of the State College of Washington.
This is not just a glorified story of Indians but one which sifts the evidence to find the truth. Wherever words were written concerning the Nez Perces, McWhorter ferreted them out. He contrasted the reminiscences of generals, missionaries, and pioneers with the witness of the Indians, and brought together material accumulated from files of newspapers, old journals, and letters.
Written without dullness, for the richness of the material is derived largely from the quoted and clearly beautiful expressions of the Indian friends of McWhorter, HEAR ME, MY CHIEFS! is a book for the historian, and also for the general reader, who will find here the only complete and definitive record of the Nez Perce Indians with the puzzling aspects of the Nez Perce War of 1877 clarified by the Indians themselves.
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