Black Hawk

The Battle for the Heart of America

Kerry A. Trask

A John Macrae/Holt Paperbacks Book

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“Blending history with ethnography and a bit of sociology, Trask’s volume explains the war and its lingering impact extremely well . . . Fascinating.”
—Chicago Sun-Times

In the spring of 1832, Black Hawk and his Sauk followers, including 700 warriors, rose up in a rage and defiantly crossed the Mississippi to reclaim their ancestral home in Illinois. The rebellion was dashed in just three months, yet no other violent encounter between white America and native people embodies so clearly the U.S. Republic’s conflict between exalted ideals of freedom and human dignity and its insatiable appetite for territory.

Until 1822, the 6,000-strong Sauk Nation had occupied one of North America’s largest Indian settlements, just east of the Mississippi. Supported by hundreds of acres of planted fields, their domain was the envy of white Americans who had already begun to encroach upon the rich land. When the conflicts between natives and white squatters inevitably turned violent, the Sauks were forced into exile, uprooted and banished to the uncharted west.

Resurrecting the heroic efforts of Black Hawk and his men, Trask illuminates the tragic history of frontier America through the eyes of those who were cast aside in the pursuit of manifest destiny.

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Book Excerpts

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Prologue

I will tell you something about stories
[he said]
They aren’t just entertainment.
Don’t be fooled.
They are all we have, you see
All we have to fight off
Illness and death.
 
You don’t have anything
If you don’t have the stories.
 
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
 
Men with muskets slung over their shoulders and women carrying infants and heavy loads of food and supplies made their way slowly to the broad brown river that lay ahead. It was early April of 1832. Spring had arrived reluctantly that year, with cold rains and scowling

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About the Author

Kerry A. Trask

Kerry A. Trask, a scholar of early American history, is a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Manitowoc, and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. A native of Canada, he is particularly interested in the early history of the Great Lakes region. Trask is the author of two previous books; his most recent is Fire Within: A Civil War Narrative from Wisconsin, which was awarded the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Leslie Cross Book-Length Nonfiction Award in 1996. He lives on the west shore of Lake Michigan.

Kerry A. Trask

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Available Formats and Book Details

Black Hawk
The Battle for the Heart of America
Kerry A. Trask

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Henry Holt and Co.
A John Macrae/Holt Paperbacks Book
January 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805082623
ISBN10: 080508262X
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages, Includes three maps
$21.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
A John Macrae Book
December 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466860926
ISBN10: 1466860928
384 pages, Includes three maps
$7.99
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Holt Paperbacks

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