At the time of his death in 1838, Seminole warrior Osceola was the most famous and respected Native American in the world. Born a Creek, young Osceola was driven from his home by General Andrew Jackson to Spanish Florida, where he joined the Seminole tribe. Years later, President Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which was not only intended to relocate the Seminoles to hostile lands in the West but would force the return of runaway slaves who had joined that tribe. Osceola—outraged at the potential loss of his people and homeland—did not hesitate to declare war on the United States.
Osceola and the Great Seminole War vividly recounts how one warrior with courage and cunning unequaled by any Native American leader before or after would mastermind battle strategies that would embarrass the best officers in the United States Army. Employing daring guerrilla tactics, Osceola initiated and orchestrated the longest, most expensive, and deadliest war ever fought by the United States against Native Americans. With each victory by his outnumbered and undersupplied warriors, Osceola's reputation grew among his people and captured the imagination of the citizens of the United States. At the time, many cheered his quixotic quest for justice and freedom, and since then many more have considered his betrayal on the battlefield to be one the darkest hours in U.S. Army history.
Insightful, meticulously researched, and thrillingly told, award-winning author Thom Hatch's account of the Second Seminole War is an extraordinarily accomplished work of American history that finally does justice to one of the greatest Native American warriors.
"It's a fascinating history, touching on the complex relationships among white, black, and Native Americans in the contested territory we now know as Florida . . . Hatch's meticulous research is evident in his depiction of Seminole village life and his detailed descriptions of conferences and battles."—Boston Globe
"The Seminole tribe of Florida had an origin as complex and tragic as the history of race in America. The Creek Indians of Alabama, escaped black slaves, and Muskogee-speaking natives of Florida together made up the tribe which took its name from the Spanish word for ‘fugitives' or ‘wild men'. They were united by a fierce independence and were led by a man of great natural gifts—named Billy Powell at birth, and known to history as Osceola—as varied in his background as the tribe he led. His story, stirring and sad in equal measure, is now told by Thom Hatch in this new history of the Seminole ordeal."—Thomas Powers, Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner and National Book Critics Circle finalist for The Killing of Crazy Horse
"With admirable scholarship and fresh and exciting detail, Thom Hatch tells the epic story of young Billy Powell, who embraced his Native American heritage and entered history as Osceola, leader of the Seminoles. Telling of his fight for his people, Hatch demonstrates convincingly why Osceola deserves a place in the pantheon with Cochise, Tecumseh, and Sitting Bull."—A. J. Langguth, author of Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War
"Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Crazy Horse are well known to every schoolchild. Hatch deftly brings Osceola to the pantheon of legendary Native American leaders."—Kirkus Reviews
"Engaging, well-researched . . . This important book adds to our understanding of the shameful mistreatment of Native Americans and their resistance."—Publishers Weekly
Reviews from Goodreads
The Creek Refugees
Nine-year-old Billy Powell, the boy who would grow up to become the warrior Osceola, watched as his whole world went up in flames.
Billy was in the company of his mother and dozens of other members of...