By Peter Cozzens
Recommended on: 24th November 2020
Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation, by Peter Cozzens. Tenskwatawa was a klutz who, as a youth, managed to shoot one of his eyes out with an arrow—he became a debauched alcoholic living on handouts. But, as Cozzens book reveals, after a near-death experience, Tenskwatawa turned away from alcohol and became known as the Prophet. Together with his brother, Tecumseh, the siblings worked hard against long odds to unite Native Americans against the American “Long Knives” who were constantly encroaching on Indian lands.
This fascinating book gives insight into the margins of the nascent United States during the latter 1700s and early to mid-1800s. What makes the book all the more interesting is that, despite the heroic nature of their cause, It’s not like the siblings were perfect people. Tecumseh, who hated torture and treated even his enemies with respect, abandoned women and divorced his wives with the most trivial of excuses, even such minor transgressions as a few feathers left on a plucked turkey. And the Prophet was still a self-serving wheeler dealer even after his near-death experience—although he never drank again.
This fascinating, little known era of history about iconic Americans also is a fine book for audio listening (although you may want to keep your cell phone handy to look up place names). Enjoy!
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