Indian war veterans

indian_war_veteransAs an ex-WWII private first class, I applaud Greene’s editing of these memoirs. Greene shoots down the commonly-held belief that Indian War soldiers were mostly illiterate Irish and German immigrants.

Most of these personal accounts were penned by enlisted men, rather than officers, and all the selections are well written. (Greene may have fine-tuned some of the soldiers’ prose, but his inserted corrections are few and far between.) The editor draws virtually all of the reminiscences from Winning the West, the newspaper of the National Indian War Veterans Association. The familiar battle places—Little Bighorn, Powder River and the Rosebud—are included in these accounts, as well as forgotten skirmish sites such as Owl Ridge and Leech Lake. Most welcome are the accounts of the Ute and Modoc Indian Wars, less frequently discussed than other campaigns. The text, illustrated with fine historical examples of troopers, is a gold mine of grassroots military history.

—Richard H. Dillon

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