Thunder in the Mountains by Daniel J. Sharfstein

Thunder in the Mountains; Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard and the Nez Perce War by Daniel J. Sharfstein; 2017; $29.95; 613 pages; W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY; 978-0-393-23941-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Belmont; 9/18/17-10/1/17

Why did I read this?  I have always been a fan of Chief Joseph and always to learn more about the people that we have displaced.

An interesting story of two men who lived parallel lives during a time of great change.  General O.O. Howard, founder of Howard University fought in the Civil War on the Union Side and then headed up the Freedmen’s Bureau during reconstruction.  He believed in the betterment of the freed slaves but did not believe in that same equality for the indigenous people of America.  Chief Joseph was one of many leaders of a band of Nez Perce peoples. He was not the War Chief that conducted the war, he came to be acknowledged as the leader after the War Chiefs died.  I did not realize that the battles took place over such a vast territory.

There is more information here than needed, especially on C.E.S. Wood, the generals aide. I wish the book would have concentrated on more just the actual action and not be so much biography of the palefaces that threatened a way of life, disingenuously ignored laws and treaties, and lied.

Grade B

Christian Nation by Frederic C. Rich

Christian Nation by Frederic C. Rich; 2013; $25.95; 340 pages; W.W. Norton &  Company, New York, NY; 978-0-393-24011-5; purchased at Multnomah County Library Title Wave Used Bookstore; 8/21/17-8/-8/26/17

Why did I read this?  Because the premise seemed interesting and it seems timely.

With the death of President McCain, Vice President Palin sets the groundwork for fundamentalist Christians to take over the Senate and House of Representatives.  With the election of President Jordan after President Palin is out of office, Congress starts passing laws according to the fundamentalist reading of the Bible.  The United States Government becomes a Christian Theocracy.   Blasphemy becomes a crime punishable by death, books are destroyed if they contain anything that the fundamentalist disagree with, fiction or non fiction.  If you are not married by 30, you are assumed to be homosexual and are sentenced to death.  If you have resisted and rebelled against the government you are sentenced to a reeducation game, if you are given up to three years to become a Christian, if you haven’t made  a decision in that time you are killed.  Many of the things that set the stage for the takeover are things that I have heard people calling for at this time.  Many of the people in the early part of the book are actual people and the author uses actual quotes to set that stage.

Grade A