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Editorial Reviews

Black Hawk was a Native American, a tough leader of the Sauk tribe who led his people in battles against the U.S., with the British in 1812, and other skirmishes. Starting with his birth, in 1767, up through his imprisonment in later years and eventual return to his people, this book details his life and views on America. He tries and fails to rectify the harm done by the signing over of the Sauk land, in 1804, under questionable auspices. Brett Barry’s performance of this autobiography is measured and deliberate just as Black Hawk’s own tone has resolve without anger when he cites the white man’s own religion and its principle of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Publisher's Summary

This story is told in the words of a tragic figure in American history: a hook-nosed, hollow-cheeked old Sauk warrior who lived under four flags while the Mississippi Valley was being wrested from his people.

The author is Black Hawk himself - once pursued by an army whose members included Captain Abraham Lincoln and Lieutenant Jefferson Davis. Perhaps no Indian ever saw so much of American expansion or fought harder to prevent that expansion from driving his people to exile and death. He knew Zebulon Pike, William Clark, Henry Schoolcraft, George Catlin, Winfield Scott, and such figures in American government as President Andrew Jackson and Secretary of State Lewis Cass. He knew Chicago when it was a cluster of log houses around a fort, and he was in St. Louis the day the American flag went up and the French flag came down. He saw crowds gather to cheer him in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York - and to stone the driver of his carriage in Albany - during a fantastic tour sponsored by the government. And at last he dies in 1838, bitter in the knowledge that he had led men, women, and children of his tribe to slaughter on the banks of the Mississippi.

After his capture at the end of the Black Hawk War, he was imprisoned for a time and then released to live in the territory that is now Iowa. He dictated his autobiography to a government interpreter, Antoine LeClaire, and the story was put into written form by J. B. Patterson, a young Illinois newspaperman. Since its first appearance in 1833, the autobiography has become known as an American classic.

Public Domain (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[A] classic of midwestern literature, a remarkable self-portrait by a complex individual who identified closely with the heritage of his tribe. At a time when [Native Americans] were being removed by government policy, it made the Indian perspective a part of the national consciousness." (John E. Hallwas, Illinois Literature: The Nineteenth Century)

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  • Alethia
  • 08-05-2013

Seeing the defeated side

Would you listen to The Autobiography of Black Hawk again? Why?

This story truly makes us look at domesticated civilization as a concentration camp. Man's word should have been enough. This is a story of surviving liars all over America. It talks of the brutality from both nations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Janis
  • 24-12-2012

Blackhawk: A Chief whose words are relavant today

The story was good in portraying everyday life, from a Native American perspective after the British and French etc. came to North America. The reading style of the reader was rather insipid, though. It was devoid of enthusiasm.

This story did not include Chief Black Hawks quotes which have made him a favorite of today's human rights' advocates such as Howard Zinn. This omission is VERY disappointing.

There is no reason, after hearing this novel, to understand why even a sports team i.e. Chicago Black Hawks named themselves after him. The link is not there of how strong a tactician this great Chief was.

And the link to how strong an analytical thinker he was, in grasping the changes happening in "his" America, and how they are the same changes in our America, is missing. He understood the 1% and what they were doing to his country and his people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lazaro C. Ojeda
  • 25-10-2011

Tear Jerker

Excellent audiobook, through and through. The story was moving. The narrator was awesome. I highly recommend it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-07-2012

informing-not entertaining

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you are looking for a riveting read to cuddle up with, don't pick this up! That being said it is what it is. This is the self told story of one of the 19th century's great characters. In this book is a version of the unfolding drama of native americans in the midwest that was the driving force for one of the great players in that drama.

Blackhawk is not looking to entertain you. At times he seems to tell the same story over and over again. If you are interested in the perspective of those who lived the drama over the telling of the same story by someone with an agenda to push, listen to this story.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • KathrynVB
  • 20-05-2018

A compelling history of Chief Black Hawk

I grew up in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, where General Henry Atkinson established his headquarters during the Black Hawk War of 1832. This is the story of that war, not from the victor's vantage, but from the view of the man he conquered.

Chief Black Hawk had grown up in Saukenuk, an Indian village at the juncture of the Rock and Mississippi Rivers where Rock Island, Illinois, is now located. He and his small band of warriors resisted government demands that his tribe abandon their lands to white settlers. He fought American forces all the way up the Rock River from Rock Island, then turned toward the Mississippi River north of LaCrosse, where they were slaughtered en masse.

Black Hawk was captured and taken to Washington, touring settled areas of the eastern U.S. and standing in awe of such things as railroads and cityscapes. His autobiography glosses over the Battle of the Bad Axe, where his tribe was viciously wiped out. His nation's many betrayals by American soldiers, traders and government officials are clearly rendered, however. This is a poignant tale.

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  • DeWayne
  • 16-12-2016

nice acount of Blackhawks life, why he went to war

Blackhawk lets us know the plight of his people during the expansion of the whites and why he went to war but it does not detail the Black Hawk War only outlining it