Gregory Michno draws on American, British, Australian, and Dutch POW accounts as well as Japanese convoy histories, recently declassified radio intelligence reports, and a wealth of archival sources to present a detailed picture of what happened. His findings are startling. More than 126,00 Allied prisoners were transported in the hellships with more than 21,000 fatalities. While beatings, starvation, and disease caused many of the deaths, the most, Michno reports, were caused by Allied bombs. Bullets, and torpedoes. He further reports that this so-called friendly fire was not always accidental—at times high-level decision were made to sink Japanese ships despite the presence of POWs. The statistics led Michno to conclude that it was more dangerous to be a prisoner on the Japanese hellships than a U.S. Marine fighting in the campaign. His careful examination of the role U.S. submarines in the sinkings and the rescue of POWs makes yet another significant contribution to the history of the Pacific war.
Many questions arise whenever Sand Creek is discussed: were the Indians peaceful? Did they hold white prisoners? Were they under army protection? Were excessive numbers of women and children killed, and were bodies mutilated? Did the Indians fly an American flag? Did the chiefs die stoically in front of their tipis? Were white scalps found in the village? Three hearings were conducted, and there seems to be an overabundance of evidence from which to answer these and other questions. Unfortunately, the evidence only muddies the issues.
Award-winning Indian Wars author Gregory Michno divides his study into three sections. The first, “In Blood,” details the events of November 29 and 30, 1864, in what is surely the most comprehensive account published to date. The second section, “In Court,” focuses on the three investigations into the affair, illustrates some of the biases involved, and presents some of the contradictory testimony. The third and final section, “The End of History,” shows the utter impossibility of sorting fact from fiction. Using Sand Creek as well as contemporary examples, Michno examines the evidence of eyewitnesses—all of whom were subject to false memories, implanted memories, leading questions, prejudice, self-interest, motivated reasoning, social, cultural, and political mores, an over-active amygdala, and a brain that had a “mind” of its own—obstacles that make factual accuracy an illusion. Living in a postmodern world of relativism suggests that all history is subject to the fancies and foibles of individual bias. The example of Sand Creek illustrates why we may be witnessing “the end of history.”
Studying Sand Creek exposes our prejudices because facts will not change our minds—we invent them in our memories, we are poor eyewitnesses, we follow the leader, we are slaves to our preconceptions, and assuredly we never let truth get in the way of what we already think, feel, or even hope. We do not believe what we see; instead, we see what we believe.
Michno’s extensive research includes primary and select secondary studies, including recollections, archival accounts, newspapers, diaries, and other original records. The Three Battles of Sand Creek will take its place as the definitive account of this previously misunderstood, and tragic, event.
The Pampanito story begins with the boat's construction in 1943, continues through its six combat missions, and concludes with its decommissioning after the war in 1945. The heart of the book is the September 12, 1944, attack on a Japanese convoy carrying English and Australian POWs from the Burma-Siam Railway (of Bridge on the River Kwai fame) to prison camps in Japan. The Pampanito helped sink two of the prison ships, unwittingly killing hundreds of Allied soldiers, but then returned to rescue the survivors. The crew picked a record seventy-three men from the sea.
The Trade and Intercourse Acts passed by Congress between 1796 and 1834 set up a system for individuals to receive monetary compensation from the federal government for property stolen or destroyed by American Indians. By the end of the Mexican-American War, both Anglo-Americans and Nuevomexicanos became experts in exploiting this system—and in using the army to collect on their often-fraudulent claims. As Gregory F. Michno reveals in Depredation and Deceit, their combined efforts created a precarious mix of false accusations, public greed, and fabricated fear that directly led to new wars in the American Southwest between 1849 and 1855.
Tasked with responding to white settlers’ depredation claims and gaining restitution directly from Indian groups, soldiers typically had no choice but to search out often-innocent Indians and demand compensation or the surrender of the guilty party, turning once-friendly bands into enemy groups whenever these tense encounters exploded in violence. As the situation became more volatile, citizens demanded a greater army presence in the region, and lucrative military contracts became yet another reason to encourage the continuation of frontier violence. Although the records are replete with officers questioning accusations and discovering civilians’ deceit, more often than not the army was forced to act in direct counterpoint to its duties as a constabulary force. And whenever war broke out, the acquisition of more Indian land and wealth began the cycle of greed and violence all over again.
The Trade and Intercourse Acts were manipulated by Anglo-Americans who ensured the continuation of the very conflicts that they claimed to abhor and that the acts were designed to prevent. In bringing these machinations to light, Michno’s book deepens—and darkens—our understanding of the conquest of the American Southwest.
Exciting storytelling, a hallmark of western writing, shapes every selection. C. L. Sonnichsen's 1986 revisionist account of Geronimo's life foreshadows the work of younger historians who continue to deepen our understanding of American Indian history. Jeffrey Pearson's story of the death of Crazy Horse and Greg Michno's novelistic rendering of the Lakota view of the Battle of the Little Bighorn represent history as practiced by scholars who are also powerful writers.
Journalist-screenwriter William Broyles's narrative of the King family and ranch is a Texas saga as captivating as anything by Larry McMurtry. The renowned novelist Oakley Hall writes with a historian's precision about Wyoming, setting for The Virginian and site of the Teapot Dome scandal and the Johnson County range war. Focusing on Charles M. Russell, Raphael Cristy establishes the western artist's importance as a writer who overturned stereotypes about American Indians.
Environmental studies are showcased in Dan Flores's essays on the demise of the great buffalo herds and the history of the horse trade. And no overview of the West would be complete without military and law enforcement history, amply represented by Robert M. Utley's work on the Texas Rangers, Paul Hutton's panoramic recounting of the Alamo, and Sally Denton's new look at the controversial Mountain Meadows Massacre, incorporating the latest forensic evidence. In what serves as a fitting coda to the violent yet inspiring history of the American West, Hutton offers a stirring account of Teddy Roosevelt's leadership at the Battle of San Juan Hill.
This is a collection as pleasurable to read as it is rich with great and significant stories about one of the most enduring national epochs—the history of the great American West.
Kiser narrates two distinct contests. The Apaches were defending their territory against the encroachment of soldiers and settlers. At the same time, the Anglo-Americans maneuvered against one another in a competition for political and economic power and for Apache territory. Cross-cultural misunderstandings, political corruption in Santa Fe and Washington, anti-Indian racism, troublemakers among both Apaches and settlers, irresponsible army officers and troops, corrupt American and Mexican traders, and policy disagreements among government officials all contributed to the ongoing hostilities. Kiser examines the behaviors and motivations of individuals involved in all aspects of these local, regional, and national disputes.
Kiser is one of only a few historians to deal with this crucial period in Indian-white relations in the Southwest—and the first to detail the experiences of the First and Second United States Dragoons, elite mounted troops better equipped and trained than infantry to confront Apache guerrilla warriors more accustomed to the southwestern environment. Often led by the Gila leader Mangas Coloradas, the Apaches fought desperately to protect their lands and way of life. The Americans, Kiser shows, used unauthorized tactics of total warfare, encouraging field units to attack villages and destroy crops and livestock, particularly when the Apaches refused to engage the troops in pitched battles.
Kiser’s insights into the pre–Civil War conflicts in southern New Mexico are essential to a deeper understanding of the larger U.S.-Apache war that culminated in the heroic resistance of Cochise, Victorio, and Geronimo.
This unique study centers on four critical engagements between Anglo-Americans and American Indians on the southwestern frontier: the Battle of Cieneguilla (1854), the Battle of Adobe Walls (1864), the Sand Creek Massacre (1864), and the Mountain Meadows Massacre (1857). Editors Ronald K. Wetherington and Frances Levine juxtapose historical and archaeological perspectives on each event to untangle the ambiguity and controversy that surround both historical and more contemporary accounts of each of these violent outbreaks. Both disciplines, the contributors make clear, yield surprisingly similar narratives and interpretive agreement; and the lessons learned from these nineteenth-century killing fields about wartime reporting and command failures remain relevant today.
Contributions by T. Lindsay Baker, J. Brett Cruse, Will Gorenfeld, Shannon A. Novak, Lars Rodseth, Douglas D. Scott, and Joe Watkins
When Mexican governor Manuel Armijo unexpectedly fled Santa Fe, he left the New Mexico territory undefended, and it fell to forces under Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny in a bloodless occupation. In the ensuing two decades, the southern portion of New Mexico's Rio Grande Valley played a prominent role in the conflict that overtook the infant American territory.
In Turmoil on the Rio Grande, William S. Kiser has mined primary archives and secondary materials alike to tell the story of those rough-and-tumble years and to highlight the effect the region had in the developing U.S. empire of the West. Kiser carefully limns in the culture into which the U.S. soldiers inserted themselves before going on to describe the armed forces that arrived and the actions in which they were involved. From the thirty-minute Battle of Brazito—in which the greenhorn recruits of the 1st Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, led by Col. Alexander Doniphan, vanquished Mexican troops through superior technology—to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the international boundary disputes, and the Confederate victory at Fort Fillmore, Kiser deftly describes the actions that made the Mesilla Valley important in American history.
Henry Lafayette Dodge has
long been a familiar name in 19th century American Southwestern history. As one
of the earliest and most effective Indian agents to the Navajo, he has been
portrayed as a congenial, sympathetic and compassionate advocate for the
tribe—a veritable role model. The Navajo knew him as Red Shirt, a man they came
to respect, appreciate and trust. Those who knew Dodge admitted, although often
grudgingly, that he had unrivaled influence over the tribe. By today’s
sensibilities, Henry L. Dodge was hardly a role model. In his youth, he was
irresponsible, hot-headed and violent. As an adult, he was sued for assault and
battery, land fraud, breach of promises and misuse of public funds. He
apparently couldn’t be trusted with money, his own or others’. Finally brought
down by scandal, he fled Wisconsin in the dead of night, abandoning his career,
his wife and his children, leaving them nearly destitute. How then should
history assess him? Honestly: precisely as he was, an ambitious and imperfect
man. The honest telling gives a straightforward account of not only Henry L.
Dodge, but what became the veritable mythology of the West, from the bawdy old
French Missouri river towns to the raucous lead mining districts of southwest
Wisconsin, through the slaughter of the war to the invasion of New Mexico and
the chaos of the Indian frontier; it is a gritty personal tale of the true
From the undersea warfare of World War II through the Cold War stand-offs in the deep to the cutting-edge technology of the modern U.S. Navy, submarines have evolved into the front line of our nation's defense at sea. And the men who sail them have become heroes above and below the waves. These are their stories.
Compiled from interviews and recollections from submarine veterans and accompanied by detailed photos and illustrations of both man and machine at work, Sub is a gripping chronicle of undersea warfare as told by those who know firsthand what it means to drop through the hull of a boat, to sink into the dark, freezing waters of the deep-and to have death never more than one torpedo away.