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The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his overlooked younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was a crucial partner in the last great pan-Indian confederacy against the United States. Until Tecumseh's death in 1813, he was, alongside Tenskwatawa, the co-architect of the greatest pan-Indian confederation in histo The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his overlooked younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was a crucial partner in the last great pan-Indian confederacy against the United States. Until Tecumseh's death in 1813, he was, alongside Tenskwatawa, the co-architect of the greatest pan-Indian confederation in history. Over time, Tenskwatawa has been relegated to the shadows, described as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was the forward-facing diplomat--appealing even to the colonizers attempting to appropiate Indian land--behind the scenes, Tenskwatawa unified disparate tribes of the Old Northwest with his deep understanding of their religion and culture. No other Native American leaders enjoyed such popularity, and none would ever pose a graver threat to the nation's westward expansion than Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa. Bringing to life an often-overlooked episode in America's past, Cozzens paints in vivid detail the violent, lawless world of the Old Northwest, when settlers spilled across the country to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the War of Independence. Tecumseh and the Prophet finally tells the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat--the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.


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The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his overlooked younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was a crucial partner in the last great pan-Indian confederacy against the United States. Until Tecumseh's death in 1813, he was, alongside Tenskwatawa, the co-architect of the greatest pan-Indian confederation in histo The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his overlooked younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was a crucial partner in the last great pan-Indian confederacy against the United States. Until Tecumseh's death in 1813, he was, alongside Tenskwatawa, the co-architect of the greatest pan-Indian confederation in history. Over time, Tenskwatawa has been relegated to the shadows, described as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was the forward-facing diplomat--appealing even to the colonizers attempting to appropiate Indian land--behind the scenes, Tenskwatawa unified disparate tribes of the Old Northwest with his deep understanding of their religion and culture. No other Native American leaders enjoyed such popularity, and none would ever pose a graver threat to the nation's westward expansion than Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa. Bringing to life an often-overlooked episode in America's past, Cozzens paints in vivid detail the violent, lawless world of the Old Northwest, when settlers spilled across the country to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the War of Independence. Tecumseh and the Prophet finally tells the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat--the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    https://thebestbiographies.com/2021/0... Peter Cozzens’s recent book “Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation” was published in the fall of 2020. Cozzens is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and the author or editor of nearly two-dozen books covering the Civil War and US-Indian relations during America’s westward expansion. He is probably best-known for “The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West.” For more than twenty years the cl https://thebestbiographies.com/2021/0... Peter Cozzens’s recent book “Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation” was published in the fall of 2020. Cozzens is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and the author or editor of nearly two-dozen books covering the Civil War and US-Indian relations during America’s westward expansion. He is probably best-known for “The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West.” For more than twenty years the classic biography of Tecumseh (~1768-1813) has been John Sugden’s “Tecumseh: A Life.” But biographies of the Shawnee chief have traditionally minimized or ignored the role his younger brother Tenskwatawa (1775-1836) played in creating and maintaining a substantial pan-Indian confederacy. This is an oversight Cozzens successfully cures in this compelling dual biography. Readers will find most of the book’s 435-page narrative engaging, informative and colorful. It is also the product of meticulous research, conveying a remarkably deep understanding of Indian affairs: their history, culture, politics, daily life, inter-tribal conflicts, the impact of alcohol and disease on their communities, and their relationships with the US, Britain and France. No one will walk away from this book without a keen understanding of Tecumseh, his younger brother (a debaucherous rascal turned spiritual prophet) and their decade-long efforts to restrain America’s westward march. Their partnership ended with Tecumseh’s untimely death at the Battle of the Thames; the Prophet then lingered for more than two decades as an impoverished anachronism. Some of the most notable features of Cozzens’s book include a nice introduction to William Henry Harrison, a vivid description of Tecumseh’s siege of Fort Meigs which will remind some readers of the best accounts of Ulysses Grant’s Civil War campaigns, and an especially useful Appendix summarizing the dozens of tribes (and subgroups) encountered in the text. But as captivating as the narrative proves to be, this is a biography that most readers will need to sip and savor, not gulp. The story line involves countless names – of individuals, tribes, towns and settlements – which will be unfamiliar to many and which can prove quite difficult to keep straight. In addition, while Cozzens periodically injects a helpful “30,000 foot” perspective to provide his audience with clarifying context, much of the book is tightly focused on Tecumseh’s (or his brother’s) immediate sphere. As a result it is easy to become so fixated on their fields-of-view that one loses much of the “big picture.” Overall, however, “Tecumseh and the Prophet” proves itself an unusually insightful and wonderfully entertaining dual biography of Tecumseh and his brother. Readers lacking a fluent facility for 18th-century North American Indian affairs may find the narrative complex or confusing at times. But patience and perseverance are well-rewarded and this biography provides both luminous storytelling and penetrating history. Overall rating: 4¼ stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    This book is a dual biography of Tecumseh and his lesser known brother Tenskwatawa who is also know as The Prophet. The book is well researched and written making it an interesting read.  The primary focus on is on the brother's attempts to slow down and repel american expansion into northwestern Ohio during the late 1700's and early 1800's. They were not successful with one dying on the battlefield and the other dying poor and alone. This is the first book, to my knowledge, that gives equal att This book is a dual biography of Tecumseh and his lesser known brother Tenskwatawa who is also know as The Prophet. The book is well researched and written making it an interesting read.  The primary focus on is on the brother's attempts to slow down and repel american expansion into northwestern Ohio during the late 1700's and early 1800's. They were not successful with one dying on the battlefield and the other dying poor and alone. This is the first book, to my knowledge, that gives equal attention to both brothers. Others that I have read have focused on Tecumseh giving passing attention to his brother and the role that he played in their struggle to preserve the Shawnee nation's land. This is a good book for those who have not read much on the brothers or their struggle to preserve their heritage. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my nonfiction book review blog.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Peter Cozzens spares no relevant detail in tracing the history of Tecumseh, the Prophet and the Confederacy they built – but while doing so, he sacrifices nothing in the way or narrative. Before the American West was the Great Plains or the Southwest, it was the Northwest Territory. Before Sitting Bull and Geronimo became embedded in our minds as the emblematic symbols of Native American resistance to giving up their traditional way of life and land, there was Tecumseh and the Prophet. These two Peter Cozzens spares no relevant detail in tracing the history of Tecumseh, the Prophet and the Confederacy they built – but while doing so, he sacrifices nothing in the way or narrative. Before the American West was the Great Plains or the Southwest, it was the Northwest Territory. Before Sitting Bull and Geronimo became embedded in our minds as the emblematic symbols of Native American resistance to giving up their traditional way of life and land, there was Tecumseh and the Prophet. These two Shawnee brothers and the confederacy which they spearheaded to resist American expansion north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi was such that at their height “they mustered twice as many warriors as Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse would three generations later at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.” Cozzens’ work has masterfully brought this story and these brothers back into focus. How did a capable but minor Shawnee village chief rise to lead thousands of warriors? How did an alcoholic who wounded his eye with an own arrow become a prophet heard throughout the Midwest and into the South? What were the tribal dynamics that allowed two Shawnee brothers who couldn’t win over the bulk of their own tribe to become leaders of a pan-Indian confederacy? Why has Tecumseh become the more renowned brother when contemporaries first noticed the Prophet? How did it come to pass that Tecumseh died near the height of the Confederacy’s power, while the Prophet lived on to encourage removal to a reservation – where he’d die in obscurity? Cozzens delves into all of these questions and more. This work excels in a host of ways, but I most appreciated the author’s ability to establish context and complexity without becoming tangential or dry. History does not emerge out of a vacuum. The culture, religion, life, tribal customs and past of the Shawnee and other Natives are presented to the reader to help comprehend what the brothers were fighting to preserve – but also how bold and innovative their methods were. It also sets Tecumseh’s Confederacy and the Prophets spiritual revival in continuity with those who came before them or influenced them directly – Pontiac, the Confederacy of Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, the time spent among the Chickamauga Cherokee. Cozzens also doesn’t neglect the complex and shifting relationships which occurred within and among the tribes, which made Tecumseh’s successes more astounding and his ultimate failure at what ought to have been his height more dramatic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Online-University of-the-Left

    Good book. Prophetstown as Tecumseh and his brother's 'Yenan' for organizing the Red Confederacy to hold the Northwest (the old one) as their homeland. They lose in the end, but the effort was heroic. It also compels us to look at the War of 1812 in a new way. Good book. Prophetstown as Tecumseh and his brother's 'Yenan' for organizing the Red Confederacy to hold the Northwest (the old one) as their homeland. They lose in the end, but the effort was heroic. It also compels us to look at the War of 1812 in a new way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    My 7th-grade US History teacher loved to present Boogie-Men. Among his favorite? Tecumseh. According to him, had Tecumseh's blood-thirsty dreams come true, all white Americans would have been pushed off the edge of the continent back in to the Atlantic. I didn't believe any of this then, but, in the early 90s, as my understanding of multiculturalism was still largely confined to "exotic holidays and really, they're just like us!" and my sense of indigenous people was heartily confined to the "no My 7th-grade US History teacher loved to present Boogie-Men. Among his favorite? Tecumseh. According to him, had Tecumseh's blood-thirsty dreams come true, all white Americans would have been pushed off the edge of the continent back in to the Atlantic. I didn't believe any of this then, but, in the early 90s, as my understanding of multiculturalism was still largely confined to "exotic holidays and really, they're just like us!" and my sense of indigenous people was heartily confined to the "noble savages" perspective, so I lacked a good ability to understand just how and why he was so wrong. Cozzens's book would have been a great way for me to argue back. It doesn't pretend that the Shawnee Brothers wouldn't, indeed, have happily seen invaders disappear from the continent. It doesn't ignore or excuse traditions of prisoner mutilation and torture. But it does paint a thoughtful and complex picture of how two leaders worked to try and build a different, and, I think, better vision of the world that could be. Tecumseh, it turns out, spoke English and befriended his white neighbors. His brother, after Tecumseh's death, endeavored to be a survivor. And both deserve to be remembered as Americans who aren't coming for all of us in the night, but as insurrectionists who, in the end, asked simply that the ideals of life, liberty, and property be respected for Indigenous as well as colonizing people; or at the very least not to the expense of the former for the naked benefit of the latter.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charles Haywood

    I have always been aware of the great Shawnee Indian war chief Tecumseh. I grew up within walking distance of the site of his confederacy’s defeat, by William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and often visited the battlefield as a child. Tecumseh himself wasn’t at the battle; he was far away, trying to raise Indian allies. The battle was instead lost by his inconstant brother, Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, with whom Tecumseh had a fraught, but close, relationship. In this book, P I have always been aware of the great Shawnee Indian war chief Tecumseh. I grew up within walking distance of the site of his confederacy’s defeat, by William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and often visited the battlefield as a child. Tecumseh himself wasn’t at the battle; he was far away, trying to raise Indian allies. The battle was instead lost by his inconstant brother, Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, with whom Tecumseh had a fraught, but close, relationship. In this book, Peter Cozzens expertly and evocatively traces the lives of these once-famous brothers, the last of the eastern woodlands Indians of North America to mount an effective challenge to the expanding United States. Cozzens, though the author of many books, is best known for an outstanding 2016 work on the Indian Wars in the West, The Earth is Weeping. That book, focused on the nineteenth century, did not cover the defeats of the eastern Indians. Here Cozzens turns to the earlier period, roughly 1750 to 1820, in which the Indians of the Ohio Valley lost their lands. Before 1750 the Europeans had already broken the power of the Six Nations (of whom the Iroquois are the best known), thereby consolidating control over the Eastern Seaboard. British, and soon enough American, settlers kept pushing west, despite promises made to the Indians, and the resulting conflicts are the topic of this book. Tecumseh was born in 1768 into a division of the larger Shawnee tribe. The Shawnee were an Algonquin tribe—Indian ethnography is complex, but the two major groupings of North American eastern woodlands Indians were the Algonquin and the Iroquois, who, broadly speaking, were ancient enemies. The Shawnee were then resident in southern Ohio (where my grandparents lived, and I often visited Shawnee State Park with them, giving me more childhood doses of Tecumseh). They had not been in Ohio for long; Shawnees were peripatetic, in their culture and as the result of decades of attacks from the Iroquoian tribes. The French and Indian War, that is, the Seven Years War, had ended in 1763, with the British defeating the French and taking Canada. The Shawnee did not participate in that conflict, in which the Six Nations did actively participate. This was the first major involvement of the Indians in the wars of the Europeans. The core Indian interest was to maintain their own lands, something that, in retrospect, was always doomed to fail. After that big war, small Indian wars continued off and on, notably Pontiac’s War, which ended in 1766. All the Indian wars followed the same basic pattern. The government, whether the Crown or later the United States, would promise or agree to a boundary line, beyond which white settlement would not be allowed and the Indians could lead their traditional lives. White men would ignore this—some combination of, as Cozzens says, “hardscrabble farmers in search of better land, fugitives from justice, and the congenitally restless of slack moral fiber.” The Indians would become fed up and slaughter dozens or hundreds of white men, women, and children, often in the most gruesome ways. (Daniel Boone’s sixteen-year-old son was captured and tortured to death, for example.) The white man would react by organizing punitive military expeditions to kill Indians, in usually, but not always, somewhat less gruesome ways, and drive the Indians off the land. If there is a crucial fact about the Indian Wars, and in general the relationship between Indians and Europeans, it is that the North American Indian population was shockingly low, and always had been. When Tecumseh was born, a mere fifteen hundred Shawnees claimed most of what is now the southern half of Ohio. True, disease had earlier decimated many of the tribes (although the idea that the Europeans deliberately gave them smallpox is probably a myth—no matter, they got that, and other diseases, anyway; Tecumseh himself survived smallpox), and we don’t know how many Indians there were before the Europeans arrived. But likely not that many more than later—the eastern Indians were primarily hunter-gatherers, and the land simply didn’t support huge numbers, as can be seen by frequent references to game totally disappearing, and starvation looming, when any sizeable group of Indians gathered for even a few weeks. This problem was exacerbated by white overhunting in the borderlands, and by the fur and skin trade—as Cozzens notes, Indians began to kill just to have something to trade for alcohol, of which more later. Even at the height of their power, in the mid-seventeenth century, the Iroquoian Confederacy, aggressively expansionist and ruling over a vast area of what is today northeast and upper-midwest America, totaled no more than 50,000 people. Cozzens estimates that the total Indian population of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley in 1768 was approximately 60,000—at the same time the thirteen British colonies had two million inhabitants. Moreover, the Indians, resource poor, deliberately kept their birth rate low (though they did not practice infanticide). Thus, they could never have hoped to compete with the white man in numbers. Even with their small numbers, the Indians mostly competently played a losing hand. Their only real possible move was to involve themselves in the wars among the French, British, and Americans—the Long Knives, as the Algonquins called the last—and hope to side with the winning team, with the expectation they would then be left in peace. Thus, despite no real interest in the white man’s wars, they were inevitably forced by circumstance to join. That, man-for-man, Indians were far better warriors than the whites, and they were quick to adopt European technology, could not compensate for their small numbers and democratic method of fighting, “every man his own chief.” Indians often won battles when allied with regular European troops, or alone when fighting poorly trained troops, but usually lost against any sizeable European force that maintained order. Tecumseh’s father died in 1774, when Tecumseh was five, at the Battle of Point Pleasant, in what is now West Virginia. This was one of numerous skirmishes in Dunmore’s War, a brief but brutal war caused, predictably, by Virginians pushing west. The British then formally set the Ohio River as the boundary of the Indian lands. This boundary was a key fact of Tecumseh’s childhood, and its inevitable breaching by the white man the ground of his life’s work. His early years were spent near today’s Chillicothe; Cozzens does an excellent job of sketching the culture of the Shawnee, which we will discuss later. The years of Tecumseh’s youth and early adulthood involved the further splintering of the Shawnee, some of whom moved west, and the grinding advance of the white man, sometimes in arms, but more often with a toxic joint offering of alcohol to dull the Indians and money to bribe tribal chiefs to sell land for a tiny fraction of its true worth. In 1782 the uneasy peace ended. In the Gnadenhutten Massacre, Pennsylvania militia, responding to Indian raids, killed nearly a hundred Delawares, men, women, and children (who were completely uninvolved in the raids, and in fact were farming Christians). The Shawnees and other Algonquins went on the warpath, killing hundreds of white settlers, and fighting pitched battles. At the Battle of Blue Licks, in what is today Kentucky (and is considered one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War), they (along with their allies and some British rangers), killed sixty-seven Kentucky militia. (Among those were another son of Daniel Boone; no wonder Boone wasn’t a big fan of the Indians. But then, who even knows today who Daniel Boone was?) George Rogers Clark, a regular army officer in charge of the Kentucky militia, responded with organized expeditions that pushed the Shawnee out of southern Ohio, which was promptly overrun with American settlers. Tecumseh moved north too, although as a young, unattached warrior he ranged widely, and he participated in various skirmishes and fights, as well as piracy against Ohio River settler flatboats. But fewer than a thousand Shawnee remained east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio. The rest moved to Missouri, or to Creek country in the south, or to join the Chickamaugas who lived on the Tennessee River, near today’s Chattanooga. For a while, Tecumseh, and his brothers, visited Louisiana, then Tennessee. He eventually returned to the Ohio Valley, however, and took part in the crushing 1791 defeat of Arthur St. Clair’s chaotic expedition against the Ohio Indians, which, in the usual pattern, was followed a few years later, in 1794, by “Mad Anthony” Wayne’s destruction of a large group of Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, where Tecumseh also fought. Tecumseh gradually raised his profile and attracted followers, mostly aggressive young men and those who wanted to maintain the traditional Indian life, as many of the tribes became less warlike and dependent on annuities and other handouts. He and his extended family moved to today’s eastern Indiana, maintaining reasonably good relations with the local whites (helped by that Tecumseh spoke some English). Some years passed, and the Indians south of the Great Lakes continued their slow decline. Harsh winters, vanishing game, American pressure, and alcoholism told on them. Then Tenskwatawa, Tecumseh’s younger brother, regarded as a useless, drunk buffoon (he had shot his own eye out as a child), suddenly claimed to have received a series of visions giving him divine revelation. He informed their small Shawnee village that the Great Spirit had told him that to gain heaven Indians must give up alcohol, and all the white man’s ways, and from this base he developed a new syncretic religious doctrine, with bits and pieces of earlier Indian mysticisms, Christianity, and Shawnee culture. Tenskwatawa’s religion was only the latest in a series of Indian religious revivals. A Delaware, Neolin, had preached a similar set of doctrines in the 1760s, which was adopted in part by the Ottawa war chief Pontiac to fuel his eponymous war. In the Prophet’s doctrine, there were two opponents: Americans and witches. As far as Americans, however, Tenskwatawa’s doctrine wasn’t militaristic, but particularistic. Despite American fears, he did not, at first, preach going on the warpath. As far as witches, Cozzens frequently mentions the woodland Indian obsession with witches. Very often supposed witches, usually elderly chiefs whom younger men wanted to move out or unmarried women with enemies, were tortured and killed; the Prophet eagerly participated in these killings as a judge. You won’t read that in the sanitized Indian hagiographies they teach schoolchildren as history nowadays. Almost all the Shawnee immediately converted. Other surrounding Indians were a harder sell, though some took to the new religion, especially Wyandots and Miamis, and many expressed interest, travelling to hear the Prophet speak. Thus, Tenskwatawa quickly became regionally famous, but at this time, around 1806, Tecumseh continued to be obscure—if mentioned at all, mentioned as “the Prophet’s brother.” Nonetheless, those who noticed him observed his charisma, presence, and leadership ability, and his rise to prominence can be dated to this time—perhaps prefigured by the name his parents gave him, which meant “shooting star” or “blazing comet.” Tensions between the young United States and Great Britain were rising again, primarily the result of the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on American trade. The Indians held frequent conferences with various representatives of the United States, in a complicated dance asking for money and goods, but also reassurances about their land. Meanwhile chiseling agents of the government, including William Henry Harrison, sometime military leader and now governor of the Indiana Territory, steadily ate away at Indian land title by bribing chiefs to sell land at pennies on the dollar. The United States was well aware, though, that if war came with Britain, the Indians might ally with Britain and attempt to retake their lands. And so it happened. Tecumseh, in the years leading up to open war between Britain and the United States, acted as a Shawnee ambassador, both spreading the message of his brother and trying to create a new political alliance among different contiguous tribes. Indian alliances were notoriously short-term and opportunistic, making this an uphill climb, and in general both of Tecumseh’s messages were received coolly. Moreover, the Americans were aware of these efforts and opposed them, manipulating those Tecumseh sought to persuade with cash and alcohol. The ins and outs of the period 1806 to 1812 are complex, but covered in detail by Cozzens, including a famous and acrimonious council between Harrison and Tecumseh in 1810 at Harrison’s estate in Vincennes. In 1811 Tecumseh finally achieved greater success recruiting Indian allies, helped by the belief among some Indians that war with the Americans was inevitable, and also by the Great Comet of 1811, visible for five months and sold by Tecumseh as an omen of their coming victory under his leadership. Tecumseh even made a long southern journey, trying and failing to convince the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokee, in today’s Mississippi and Alabama, to join his confederacy. Cozzens casts Tecumseh as a firm believer in his brother’s faith, a matter of historical dispute, but this was primarily a political recruiting effort—the Prophet’s message never resonated much beyond the Prophet himself. Yet we should remember that this effort was nearly unprecedented; Tecumseh was a visionary, the rare man who can see and act beyond the constraints of his upbringing and culture, seeing what has to be done and doing it. Meanwhile, the Indians Tecumseh had already recruited, Shawnees . . . [review completes as first comment.]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brad Dexter

    Tecumseh is one of the greatest Americans ever born but his exploits are frequently given short shrift. That's not the case in this well researched and excellently written book. This tells the story of Tecumseh from Oldtown to the Thames as well as I have ever read. Tecumseh is one of the greatest Americans ever born but his exploits are frequently given short shrift. That's not the case in this well researched and excellently written book. This tells the story of Tecumseh from Oldtown to the Thames as well as I have ever read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jane Ammeson

    LIves of Tecumseh and his brother revealed in new biography Historian Peter Cozzens, author of "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation," not only has written the first biography in more than 20 years of Tecumseh, the great Shawnee leader who was admired even by those who wanted to destroy him, but he also dispels, through solid research, the misrepresentation of Tecumseh's brother, Tenskwatawa, also known as the Prophet, in a book scheduled to be released Oct. 27. The h LIves of Tecumseh and his brother revealed in new biography Historian Peter Cozzens, author of "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation," not only has written the first biography in more than 20 years of Tecumseh, the great Shawnee leader who was admired even by those who wanted to destroy him, but he also dispels, through solid research, the misrepresentation of Tecumseh's brother, Tenskwatawa, also known as the Prophet, in a book scheduled to be released Oct. 27. The heroic Tecumseh was a great warrior and war leader who in his portrait looks strong, valiant, and handsome. Tenskwatawa, his younger brother, as his portrait shows, had none of those physical attributes and history recalls him as a charlatan, a drunk and, let’s face it, a loser. Tenskwatawa was an alcoholic, but gave up drinking, and despite all the travails of his later life, never indulged in drowning out his many sorrows again. “I was surprised to discover, after reading contemporaneous accounts, that the Prophet’s influence was prodigious. He was able to build an alliance with many of the tribes of the Old Northwest,” said Cozzens, the author or editor of 16 books on the American Civil War and the wars of the American West. When visiting Prophetstown State Park near Lafayette and seeing the landscape where the Prophet and Tecumseh strived, beginning in 1808, to build a community centered around the strength of banding together, Native American traditions and a cultural revitalization, it’s difficult not to be overcome with sadness knowing what happened to their dream. The same is true in Cozzens well-written book. Ultimately, Prophetstown was destroyed by American troops led by General William Henry Harrison, who would go on to become the ninth president of the United States. Tecumseh would die in battle in 1813, and the Prophet would end up impoverished and forgotten. “Writing the book was extremely emotional,” said Cozzens, who served as a captain in the U.S. Army, where his focus was on military intelligence, before spending 30 years as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State. “I had a roller coaster of emotions. The most moving part for me was writing about Tenskwatawa at the end. I felt myself in that wigwam, the cold wind blowing across the plain and knowing that this guy who had been one of the greatest prophets lived out his days like this.” Cozzens, who stumbled across a document recounting the Prophet’s final days in what would become Kansas, visited the place where he lived, discovering a few last vestiges connecting to his past. “It’s now a run-down neighborhood in Kansas. It was in a ravine; the original spring is still there,” he said. The Prophet died in 1837 and for almost 200 years has been looked upon as a failure. “He stayed sober for the rest of his life,” Cozzens said. “He was an equal partner with his brother; they had a symbiotic relationship. I think they came remarkably close to changing history.” For your information Peter Cozzens Virtual Event What: Daniel Weinberg, owner of the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop, talks with Peter Cozzens about his latest book, Tecumseh, and the Prophet. The program streams live on Facebook. Live stream: 3:30 p.m. Oct 27, 2020 Connect: www.facebook.com/AbrahamLincolnBookShop/

  9. 4 out of 5

    skip thurnauer

    It might seem peculiar to suggest Tecumseh was a great American because he never became an American. In fact, he was often on the other side of the battle lines against the “long knives”, the Americans. Tecumseh was a great chief, warrior, and diplomat. His Brother, Tenskwatawa was a reformed alcoholic turned holy man. Tecumseh and the Prophet tells the story of two Indian brothers who assembled the largest confederation of Indians in U.S. history. Most of the action takes place in the Old North It might seem peculiar to suggest Tecumseh was a great American because he never became an American. In fact, he was often on the other side of the battle lines against the “long knives”, the Americans. Tecumseh was a great chief, warrior, and diplomat. His Brother, Tenskwatawa was a reformed alcoholic turned holy man. Tecumseh and the Prophet tells the story of two Indian brothers who assembled the largest confederation of Indians in U.S. history. Most of the action takes place in the Old Northwest, today’s states of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, America’s violent frontier in the early 1800s. It pits the natives who “owned” and inhabited the land against the ever expanding and unquenchable thirst of the white settlers for the same land. “With characteristic moral dualism, Jefferson combined a genuine if myopic concern for Indian welfare with a voracious appetite for their land… Everyone except those Indians who refused to assimilate would benefit.” One example of the voracious land grab is the Fort Wayne Treaty of 1803. Governor William Henry Harrison brought gallons of alcohol to lubricate negotiations offering $0.02 for an acre of land rather than the fair market price of $2.00/acre. After consuming 218 gallons of whiskey, Harrison concluded the Fort Wayne Treaty with “marginally sober Indians” representing only a fraction of the concerned tribes, purchasing “some of the finest land in the United States” and pushing the frontier within 60 miles of Prophetstown, the village established by Tecumseh and the Prophet after they were pushed out of their Ohio homestead just a few years earlier. Tecumseh denounced the Fort Wayne Treaty as an affront to the Master of Life who had given the land to the Indians for their exclusive use. They had an eternal obligation to defend it with their lives. He spent his middle and later years trying to correct this injustice. Tecumseh journeyed from southern Wisconsin through Illinois, Indiana, south to Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia trying to unite the Indian tribes to stand up against the encroaching whites. He had only moderate success in this endeavor, unifying the northern bands while drawing only handfuls of warriors from the southern confederations. A newspaper description of Tecumseh a few years before his death in battle described him as “about 45 years of age, six feet high, well-proportioned for his height, erect and lofty deportment, penetrating eye, stern in visage; artful; industrious in preparing enterprises and bold in their execution. His eloquence is nervous, concise, and impressive… Among the Indians, Tecumseh is esteemed the boldest warrior of the west.” Tall for his day and a larger than average frame, he was one of few Indian men who disdained white dress and dressed entirely in buckskin. “One of the finest looking men I ever saw.” Tecumseh was always averse to taking prisoners in warfare, but when they fell into his hands, he always treated them with much humanity – no torturing. He didn’t tolerate the practice of killing women and children. He would slay men in battle but not afterwards. His brother Tenskwatawa, “He who opened the door for the red men to go up to the Master of Life”, gained fame as a holy man, spreading his religion from the Ohio river to the Canadian border. Indians were no longer to drink frontier whiskey. He condemned violence and promoted harmony and love and a return to the communal living he felt essential to Indian life. “The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation”, is the impressive story of two men who stood against the tide of white encroachment and the erosion of their civilization.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    (Audiobook) Admittedly, I knew very little about Tecumseh and the Prophet (his brother), other than they had a role in the various Native American vs. US conflicts around/during the War of 1812. This work is a comprehensive biography of the two men who came to play such a pivotal role during those conflicts. It starts with the life of both men growing up in the Shawnee tribes, how they went through day to day life in their tribe as well as their formative interactions with the European/American (Audiobook) Admittedly, I knew very little about Tecumseh and the Prophet (his brother), other than they had a role in the various Native American vs. US conflicts around/during the War of 1812. This work is a comprehensive biography of the two men who came to play such a pivotal role during those conflicts. It starts with the life of both men growing up in the Shawnee tribes, how they went through day to day life in their tribe as well as their formative interactions with the European/American "long knives" that came to dominate life in their lands. This work uses a myriad of resources and accounts to describe how each came to their respective positions of prominence. There is also another key figure in this tale, William Henry Harrison, who would make his name fighting the Shawnee right before the War of 1812 (Tippecanoe). Harrison proved an ambitious man and one, who like Tecumseh and the Prophet, could over-blow their accomplishments. The work goes in chronological order and follows at least Tecumseh and the Prophet from birth until their deaths. Overall, their lives were another study in how the mythology of people can overshadow their realities. The Prophet was hardly the revered figure for most of his life. While not totally riding the coat-tales of his brother, he lacked the strength and fortitude of his brother. For Tecumseh, he was a capable warrior, but he was not near as successful in creating the true "Confederation" of tribes as is sometimes portrayed. Still, this was a good work to read, and there was much to learn, and I did. Worth the time for at least one read/listen.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ddoddmccue

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Cozzens introduced actors and a history often ignored or given selective coverage in American education. This account offers a foundation for further exploring the continuing conflicts between Native Americans and the expanding US 1830s and beyond. Central to his telling are the better known Tucumseh and his lesser known, less consistent, and frequently changing younger brother The Prophet. While differing in demeanor and temperament, both shared- at least for a while- a goal of a Panindian socie Cozzens introduced actors and a history often ignored or given selective coverage in American education. This account offers a foundation for further exploring the continuing conflicts between Native Americans and the expanding US 1830s and beyond. Central to his telling are the better known Tucumseh and his lesser known, less consistent, and frequently changing younger brother The Prophet. While differing in demeanor and temperament, both shared- at least for a while- a goal of a Panindian society that rejects White Men’s ways. The irony is that accomplishing this goal led to shifting affiliations with both British and Americans, and exploitation and feigned promises by all. Fissions in the Indian alliance were sharp and often personality driven. British and American leadership was equally inconsistent. There are often no clear heroes or villains, but no ultimate Indian promised land. How many more migrations lie ahead? At the book’s conclusion the Shawnees have wandered through present day Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, southern Canada to Kansas, with leadership and unity shredded along the way. Both brothers are gone and an apparent leadership vacuum remains. Tecumseh’s son, long neglected by his father, in part because of his lighter skin, never plays more than an intermittent secondary role. What was gained? What was lost! By the Indians, the Americans, the British Canadians? The calculus is not uplifting. Cozzens ‘ account is thoroughly researched and conveyed. While Tecumseh and The Prophet is far from light reading, the history he recounts is well worth pursuing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    Tecumseh is, well, he's fascinating. As a Shawnee chief, he led his people in a fight against the sprawling encroachment of the "Long Knives," which was the term used by Indigenous folk to describe the gathering storm of European immigration and colonization. It was, of course, not successful, but Tecumseh's call to resistance was completely correct. The failure to mobilize unified resistance among native people against encroaching "Americans" was ultimately catastrophic. Despite his fierce, blo Tecumseh is, well, he's fascinating. As a Shawnee chief, he led his people in a fight against the sprawling encroachment of the "Long Knives," which was the term used by Indigenous folk to describe the gathering storm of European immigration and colonization. It was, of course, not successful, but Tecumseh's call to resistance was completely correct. The failure to mobilize unified resistance among native people against encroaching "Americans" was ultimately catastrophic. Despite his fierce, bloody resistance, Tecumseh's reputation as an honorable opponent remains. The book also explores the role of Tenskwatawa, his brother, the "Prophet," who it aims...semi-successfully...to rehabilitate his less than stellar historical record. He still comes across as less than competent, a dissembling, manipulating coward. If you buy the "noble savage" myth that has peculiarly resurfaced among privileged progressives, you're going to have trouble with this book. Because indigenous peoples are as complex as any human being, and a whitewashed view of their "lifeways" isn't present in this book. Reading how prisoners were treated is, well, you're going to need a strong stomach. Americans don't come across particularly well, either, as Cozzens doesn't pull his punches about the racism, ignorance, and avararice that drove much of our conflict with indigenous folk. The book can also be a little relentless, as battle follows skirmish follows parley, and there comes a point about 375 pages in where I went, Lord have mercy, more killing? A three point seven five, and a great way to get to know a significant figure in American history.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Randall Harrison

    This is my second Cozzens book, after The Earth is Weeping. The latter is one of my lifetime favorite reads. It would be hard for this book to measure up to that standard. Even taking into account that prejudice, this book just didn't keep the pages turning the way the first book did. While I liked this book, it wasn't nearly the Good Read that TEIW was, (3 stars vs. 5). It took me a long time to figure out why. Here's my take. This is an incredibly well-researched book; props to the author for This is my second Cozzens book, after The Earth is Weeping. The latter is one of my lifetime favorite reads. It would be hard for this book to measure up to that standard. Even taking into account that prejudice, this book just didn't keep the pages turning the way the first book did. While I liked this book, it wasn't nearly the Good Read that TEIW was, (3 stars vs. 5). It took me a long time to figure out why. Here's my take. This is an incredibly well-researched book; props to the author for that effort! I'm an avid bibliography reader; however, even a history nerd like me couldn't make it through the end notes and bibliography. Despite all that research, there are significant parts of the story, like most any story of that era, that require conjecture by the author. This setting is an environment absent widespread recordkeeping, except by the British, and American governments. In several places, the author has to hypothesize about states of mind and exact words uttered by Native leaders and white settlers who didn't transcribe their thoughts and actions. Cozzens has to fill some of those holes creatively. It didn't work for me. It demonstrates to me that he is a better weaver, than creator, of stories. In a nutshell, that is the difference between Cozzen's first book and his second. This is a good fix for Native American history junkies, just not an easy read for me. One final gripe, why no reproduction of the cover portrait of Tecumseh in the plates?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Prior to reading "Tecumseh and the Prophet" I had read several other books that centered around the interactions between European colonists and the North American Indians. Most of those, including "The First Frontier" by Scott Weidensaul devoted about one chapter to each generation of the settlement period and focused on the most notable event in each time period. In this book, Cozzens provides an in-depth look at the full series of events that took place in Tecumseh's life from 1768-1813 that af Prior to reading "Tecumseh and the Prophet" I had read several other books that centered around the interactions between European colonists and the North American Indians. Most of those, including "The First Frontier" by Scott Weidensaul devoted about one chapter to each generation of the settlement period and focused on the most notable event in each time period. In this book, Cozzens provides an in-depth look at the full series of events that took place in Tecumseh's life from 1768-1813 that affected his Shawnees and the many other tribes of the "Old Northwest." I also appreciated learning about the brief history of the Shawnees prior to their resettlement in the Ohio Valley before Tecumseh was born. This story presents a clear picture of the complicated machinations and decisions that Indian leaders experienced during the time of American independence and westward expansion. Cozzens describes multiple tribes and clans and details their decision-making processes for either siding with Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa or keeping peace with the United States. He also chronicles the events in the two brothers' lives, and their positive characteristics and flaws, that led them to the respective fates. If you are looking for an in-depth story that highlights the many challenges that Native American people and their leaders faced, this is a solid read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ashwin

    Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet Tenskwatawa, shot across the sky of the American consciousness following the American Revolution until that star faded after their failed rebellion during the War of 1812. Tecumseh lead the largest and broadest coalition of Native Americans that had been seen at that time and would ever be seen again. The Native Americans of the time simply had too many things working against them - low birth rates, susceptibility to disease, and a rejection of modernity and Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet Tenskwatawa, shot across the sky of the American consciousness following the American Revolution until that star faded after their failed rebellion during the War of 1812. Tecumseh lead the largest and broadest coalition of Native Americans that had been seen at that time and would ever be seen again. The Native Americans of the time simply had too many things working against them - low birth rates, susceptibility to disease, and a rejection of modernity and change - that right from the time of the Thanksgiving story, they were always on the back foot. Later Native American leaders like Pontiac attempted to build coalitions to push back White settlement but were ultimately defeated. Using the latest research, the author sketches out his poorly understood brother, Tenskwatawa, who attempted a religious revival after a particularly amazing spiritual experience. As a born Michigander, it was fun seeing all the names and places so common to the state and understanding where they came from - Detroit, Pontiac, Ottawa, Cass, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, River Rouge, River Raisin. Although it was disheartening to read a story where there is no grand reversal of future for the hero, the author's explanation of Shawnee culture, intertribal politics, and religion give a sense of wonder to places now known as "fly over states".

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Lutz

    Peter Cozzens brings new depth to the life of Tecumseh and his brother with this work. He points out correctly that other Tecumseh biographies tend to focus mainly on the famous chief while relegating his brother to a minor role. Having recently read Tecumseh: A life by John Sugden, I came away with the sense that the prophet became irrelevant before the War of 1812. This book shows how that wasn’t the case, and though it’s duel focus on both brothers, manages to tell a more complete story of th Peter Cozzens brings new depth to the life of Tecumseh and his brother with this work. He points out correctly that other Tecumseh biographies tend to focus mainly on the famous chief while relegating his brother to a minor role. Having recently read Tecumseh: A life by John Sugden, I came away with the sense that the prophet became irrelevant before the War of 1812. This book shows how that wasn’t the case, and though it’s duel focus on both brothers, manages to tell a more complete story of their pan-Indian movement that started as religious, then evolved to include political and military aims. For me it was interesting to learn more about the prophet after the Battle of Tippecanoe: his continued role in the Indian confederacy, and his slow decent into obscurity after his brother’s death. Some finer points about Tecumseh are explored in more detail as well: in particular his belief in his brother’s connection to the great spirit and their relationship over the course of their movement. I definitely recommend Tecumseh and the Prophet to anyone interested in this period and these brothers. It’s an easy listen with only a few native names mispronounced, and it has only deepened my knowledge of my favorite period in American history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    T.P. Williams

    Very good read, shedding a lot of light on what was the American Frontier, circa 1783-1815. Excellent analysis of the interrelationship between the War of 1812, Tecumseh, the Native American tribes, the geopolitics, as it were, of that era, the Battle of Lake Erie and why it was important. Some things I didn't like - authors clearly has favorites among the personages involved, and it comes across as heavy handed at times - disparaging comments about physical appearances for example, or perceived Very good read, shedding a lot of light on what was the American Frontier, circa 1783-1815. Excellent analysis of the interrelationship between the War of 1812, Tecumseh, the Native American tribes, the geopolitics, as it were, of that era, the Battle of Lake Erie and why it was important. Some things I didn't like - authors clearly has favorites among the personages involved, and it comes across as heavy handed at times - disparaging comments about physical appearances for example, or perceived character flaws, i.e., Tenskwatawa, Tecumseh's brother and so-called "Prophet." Book gets bogged down at times with too much detail, especially when it comes to writing of the different tribes, especially among the Shawnees. But overall puts the tribes in proper perspective. Glossary, if you will, of the the tribes and sub tribes and clans is at the end of the book, and would have been helpful as a chapter in its own right so that the reader might have a better understanding of inter-tribal and intra-tribal tensions and rivalries.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    I had read histories of the period touching on Tecumseh, but this is the first bio read. I had never heard of his brother, the prophet. The book does a great job of laying out the history of the place/period and the Shawnee brothers. Its a perfect example of "divided we fall". Tecumseh's diplomatic efforts to pull the many nations together from the Gulf States to the Mississippi, to Ontario on one hand, while leading in warfare, were nothing short of amazing. The prophet is less impressive, but I had read histories of the period touching on Tecumseh, but this is the first bio read. I had never heard of his brother, the prophet. The book does a great job of laying out the history of the place/period and the Shawnee brothers. Its a perfect example of "divided we fall". Tecumseh's diplomatic efforts to pull the many nations together from the Gulf States to the Mississippi, to Ontario on one hand, while leading in warfare, were nothing short of amazing. The prophet is less impressive, but the author I think does a good job of explaining the importance of his visions in Tecumseh's appeals to the various tribes. Certainly his British allies did Tecumseh no favors in their bumbling defense of Upper Canada (western Ontario) in the war of 1812. Many of my mother's yankee ancestors were part of the mass migration to Ohio in the 1820s after the tribe's defeat and peace after the war, so I now understand that dynamic better. Good read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This was a very detailed and informative book about the Shawnee Brothers and the dynamics of relations between Indian and Western nations in the late 18th and early 19th century. I think it does a good job of veering away from telling any single, simple story, but it still crafts an interesting biographical narrative. Well worth reading. Plus, it made me want to go through and re-read/read Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker , which deals with fictionalized versions of Tecumseh and Tenskwa This was a very detailed and informative book about the Shawnee Brothers and the dynamics of relations between Indian and Western nations in the late 18th and early 19th century. I think it does a good job of veering away from telling any single, simple story, but it still crafts an interesting biographical narrative. Well worth reading. Plus, it made me want to go through and re-read/read Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker , which deals with fictionalized versions of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, particularly in Red Prophet (though it looks like Card never actually finished the series? I was reading it as it came out and I expected that he might have written that 7th and last book some time in the past 18 years...) 4 of 5 stars

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Aumann

    This book is so many things - perhaps most importantly, an example of how to study and learn about the past from a perspective outside of the dominant culture/narrative. You will absolutely learn a lot about Tecumseh and his brother ("The Prophet"), Tenskwatawa. But you will also learn about the workings of the early U.S. government, the societies and decisions of various indigenous nations throughout this era, and British colonialism in North America after the American Revolution. I teach, study This book is so many things - perhaps most importantly, an example of how to study and learn about the past from a perspective outside of the dominant culture/narrative. You will absolutely learn a lot about Tecumseh and his brother ("The Prophet"), Tenskwatawa. But you will also learn about the workings of the early U.S. government, the societies and decisions of various indigenous nations throughout this era, and British colonialism in North America after the American Revolution. I teach, study, and love history - and my understanding of the War of 1812 has always been hazy, at best, and certainly centered in the perspective of the U.S. government. This book changed both of those things. It felt as if I were watching the fullness of each event take place, rather than having it told to me by someone with a clearly vested interest in how the story is told and remembered.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anjali

    This book was long and very, very detailed. I got stuck behind it for four days, which is an eternity in my reading life, and yet I never felt the slightest urge to DNF it. The story of Tecumseh and his younger brother Tenskwatawa is an important part of history, and Cozzens firmly affixes the details of their lives within the full context of the conflict between invading white settlers and indigenous tribes desperately trying to hold on to their lands and ways of life. The writing was solid but This book was long and very, very detailed. I got stuck behind it for four days, which is an eternity in my reading life, and yet I never felt the slightest urge to DNF it. The story of Tecumseh and his younger brother Tenskwatawa is an important part of history, and Cozzens firmly affixes the details of their lives within the full context of the conflict between invading white settlers and indigenous tribes desperately trying to hold on to their lands and ways of life. The writing was solid but I had some quibbles with Cozzens's liberal use of quotes, sometimes for just one word, and $10 words on every page. I'm glad I read this book and I learned a lot, but the actual reading of it was tedious at times.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Throughout school we learn such a watered down, simplified, easily digestible version of America's history with the Native tribes that lived here before us. But the truth is, it's not simple. When we came on the scene, the people who had lived here for millennia had alliances, enemies, and cultural ideas and norms that made it essentially impossible for them to band together to repel the invading force. This book dives into that, and does it very well. It's sad, disheartening, depressing, and en Throughout school we learn such a watered down, simplified, easily digestible version of America's history with the Native tribes that lived here before us. But the truth is, it's not simple. When we came on the scene, the people who had lived here for millennia had alliances, enemies, and cultural ideas and norms that made it essentially impossible for them to band together to repel the invading force. This book dives into that, and does it very well. It's sad, disheartening, depressing, and enlightening to read the perspective of the Shawnee through the lives of Tecumseh and his brother. This story needs to be told, and I'm grateful to Peter Cozzens for pulling all the pieces together in such a readable package.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Chapman

    I don't know how the sausage gets made with these things but it sure does seem like Mr. Cozzens got the advance to write his Tecumseh book, sat down to take a gander at primary sources, and discovered there was way less than he thought he had to work with. So it's all dad-history stuff, the book's chocked with battles and butchery. Too bad. I get it, like the surgeon in Batman '89 "You see what I have to work with?" The imaginative bits where Cozzens has nothing to go off are thin gruel--"Tecumse I don't know how the sausage gets made with these things but it sure does seem like Mr. Cozzens got the advance to write his Tecumseh book, sat down to take a gander at primary sources, and discovered there was way less than he thought he had to work with. So it's all dad-history stuff, the book's chocked with battles and butchery. Too bad. I get it, like the surgeon in Batman '89 "You see what I have to work with?" The imaginative bits where Cozzens has nothing to go off are thin gruel--"Tecumseh must have gazed at the night sky while he dreamt of a pan-Indian future" and other such chestnuts. (I'm probably paraphrasing but also perhaps direct quoting here) The good shit, like Tenskwatawa's jeremiad against whites and paen to the Old Ways, was already on Wikipedia.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

    Tecumseh and his brother, the prophet, tried to unite Indian tribes to fight against American encroachment into lands promised to the Indians. Tecumseh may have been up to the task but he was fighting forces he could not hope to defeat. The prophet, certainly a charlatan, gave Tecumseh a spiritual base that he leveraged to help bring some tribes together. Backbiting amongst the tribes and false promises from the British combined to further weaken Tecumseh’s hand. Cozzens does a good job of prese Tecumseh and his brother, the prophet, tried to unite Indian tribes to fight against American encroachment into lands promised to the Indians. Tecumseh may have been up to the task but he was fighting forces he could not hope to defeat. The prophet, certainly a charlatan, gave Tecumseh a spiritual base that he leveraged to help bring some tribes together. Backbiting amongst the tribes and false promises from the British combined to further weaken Tecumseh’s hand. Cozzens does a good job of presenting the history and many personalities involved. One can feel Tecumseh’s deep, tragic disappointment as he realizes his great dream cannot be realized.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zella Kate

    Really interesting new book that reexamines the legacy of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa. Nobody really disputes Tecumseh's legacy, though his more dysfunctional younger brother is often written off as more of a hindrance. Peter Cozzens proves a well-written, well-researched counterargument, noting that Tenskwatawa was more essential to his brother's pan-Indian movement than he gets credit for while also noting that he lacked the ability to parley that movement into what Tecumseh was able Really interesting new book that reexamines the legacy of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa. Nobody really disputes Tecumseh's legacy, though his more dysfunctional younger brother is often written off as more of a hindrance. Peter Cozzens proves a well-written, well-researched counterargument, noting that Tenskwatawa was more essential to his brother's pan-Indian movement than he gets credit for while also noting that he lacked the ability to parley that movement into what Tecumseh was able to form. Overall, a very accessible, original work of scholarship. I need to read more of Cozzens' other work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    To give this book a fairer rating, I need to read it about five more times to grasp most of the content as it is dense, even for a history buff. That said, the story of Native American culture and resistance is vital, and considering their story is significantly older than the United States there should be much more reading material in the market. I appreciate this book celebrates Native American strength, culture, and resilience, and is not lessening their historical impact and significance as To give this book a fairer rating, I need to read it about five more times to grasp most of the content as it is dense, even for a history buff. That said, the story of Native American culture and resistance is vital, and considering their story is significantly older than the United States there should be much more reading material in the market. I appreciate this book celebrates Native American strength, culture, and resilience, and is not lessening their historical impact and significance as they stood against impossible odds. Personally, to fully appreciate the book I needed a stronger overall narrative type writing to better absorb information, but still important and worthwhile.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Thomas

    Well researched; I did not know that Tecumseh travelled the Great Lakes region including Lake Erie, nor was I aware that he gre up in southern Ohio. I am a huge fan of Peter Cozzen's work; each book I have read has been painstakingly researched, and again, this biography of Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa (Shawnee Prophet) delivers. Magnificent!! I am traveling to some of the Ohio sites as soon as the virus (hopefully) becomes more manageable. Bravo! Peter Cozzens! You have brought to life Well researched; I did not know that Tecumseh travelled the Great Lakes region including Lake Erie, nor was I aware that he gre up in southern Ohio. I am a huge fan of Peter Cozzen's work; each book I have read has been painstakingly researched, and again, this biography of Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa (Shawnee Prophet) delivers. Magnificent!! I am traveling to some of the Ohio sites as soon as the virus (hopefully) becomes more manageable. Bravo! Peter Cozzens! You have brought to life a history that is important, and especially the lives of these two brothers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Adding this to my list of things that I didn’t learn in school: the untold ugliness of westward expansion, the violence of uprooting people and their livelihoods, treaties made unfaithful and unfairly, the stories of those who fought back and tried to forge alliances. The misogyny (lost battles due to a wife’s menstrual cycle!?) and racism (a very few Indians enslaved people?!?) that are embedded in our history- These details and so many more that we remain willfully ignorant of in our country.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan Mccarthy

    A fantastic biography of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa from childhood through their deaths that really highlights their unique strengths and how they relied on each other. Both are really interesting characters in the history of the Old Northwest and their success is one of my favorite "what-ifs" of history. A fantastic biography of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa from childhood through their deaths that really highlights their unique strengths and how they relied on each other. Both are really interesting characters in the history of the Old Northwest and their success is one of my favorite "what-ifs" of history.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gaby Chapman

    A very thorough and deeply researched account of the talented Shawnee diplomat Tecumseh and his doomed mission to unite and save the land and lifestyle of American Indians as colonists pushed into the midwest.

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