Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation

Knopf. Sept. 2020. 560p. ISBN 9781524733254. $35. BIOG
The Shawnee leader, warrior, and orator Tecumseh (1768–1813) led a widespread intertribal resistance against the United States during the early 19th century in what is now Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. The clash among the nascent United States, British Canada, and Tecumseh's Native American alliance culminated in the War of 1812. The text follows the lives of Tecumseh, his brother Tenskwatawa ("the Prophet"), and their nemesis, William Henry Harrison. The frontier country between Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) in the east to the Mississippi River in the west is well mapped with forts, Native American towns, and battle sites. While Cozzens (The Earth Is Weeping) is an experienced military and political historian, he also shows his skill at revealing the social and daily realities of late 18th- and early 19th-century life, including wonderfully vivid descriptions of pioneer conditions and Algonquin villages. Although many detailed and highly factual novelized versions of Tecumseh’s life are available, such as Allan W. Eckert's Sorrow in Our Heart and James Alexander Thom's Panther in the Sky, Cozzens provides a long-overdue nonfiction account.
VERDICT Tecumseh's life and the wider struggle for the Great Lakes and Ohio River valley now has a current, solid work by an accomplished author.

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