Book Review: Hundred in the Hand: A Novel by Joseph M. Marshall III
When the English came to the shores of America, the power that they received came at the cost of the original inhabitants of the land, the Red Indians. Over the years many books have been compiled about the Red Indians and the “white skinned people” who so rudely snatched away their land but the problem with these books is the fact that all those who wrote them belonged to the latter category. Therefore a touch of partiality towards the latter will creep in giving us a one sided history of the events that unfolded.
Hundred in the Hand written by Joseph gives us the opportunity to listen to the voice from the other side. Being Lakota Sioux himself, this book is fiction yet it contains the roots and history of his people. This tale, centered on the war of the book’s title “Hundred in the Hand” (aka The Fetterman Massacre of 1866) is told from the Lakota Sioux point of view. It is most certainly a dramatic departure from the usual interpretation of scripted American history.
The author incorporates references to the Lakota culture, both spiritual and social as well as dozens of everyday examples of military, hunting and tribal relationships. One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is its characters who are presented in a manner that are easy to associate with. The protagonists of the story go through all the phases that anyone would do if they were put in very harsh situations, his people fall in love, get hurt in battle, and inevitably they die.
I found the book very educational and although it is a fiction, it was in some ways more illuminating than the non fictional stories on the same topic of wars between Red Indians and their conquerors. Hundred in the hand is quite a good read and does slightly open up previously unheard suppressed voices.