Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Frontier Newspapers and the Coverage of the Plains Indian Wars

This book by Associate Professor Hugh Reilly offers a revealing look at how newspapers covered the key events of the Plains Indian Wars between 1862-1891—reporting that offers some surprising viewpoints as well as biases and misrepresentations.
As the Plains Indian Wars consumed the American West, the public turned to the nation’s newspapers for information about the fighting. The vivid, colorful accounts captivated the nation—and in hindsight, revealed much about the attitudes and prejudices of the public and the press.
The Frontier Newspapers and the Coverage of the Plains Indian Wars takes readers back to the late 19th century to show how newspaper reporting impacted attitudes toward the conflict between the United States and Native Americans.

Emphasizing primary sources and eyewitness accounts, the book focuses on eight watershed events between 1862 and 1891—the Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, the Sand Creek Massacre, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the Flight of the Nez Perce, the Cheyenne Outbreak, the Trial of Standing Bear, and the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 and its aftermath. Each chapter examines an individual event, analyzing the balance and accuracy of the newspaper coverage and how the reporting of the time reinforced stereotypes about Native Americans.

• Includes historical photos of prominent Native Americans and a scene of the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre
• Presents an extensive bibliography of books, articles, and a list of frontier newspapers that served as primary source material
Highlights • Features detailed, eyewitness accounts of events covered only briefly, if at all, in most history textbooks
• Focuses on the coverage of the Plains Indian Wars by frontier newspapers close to the action, unlike most other studies that quote mainly New York and Chicago newspapers
• Gives readers an intimate glimpse into the attitudes and prejudices of frontier citizens
(Information provided by Praeger)
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