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More advance praise for AN AMERICAN BETRAYAL:

From Library Journal:

By examining the history of the Cherokee removal from the Southeast (the Trail of Tears) through the prism of Cherokee patriotism, Smith provides a distinct and refreshing perspective that sets this title apart from the many other books on the topic. Smith sympathizes with Chief John Ross and his faction, showing that their patriotism was evident because they refused to cede their ancestral homelands to the United States. The Treaty Party members, most notably Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge, and John Ridge, are also shown here to be patriots in having determined that the only way to retain Cherokee culture and sovereignty was to move away from white settlers and establish a new homeland in the West. Boudinot and the Ridges ultimately signed away the Cherokee homeland in the Treaty of New Echota. That act cost them their lives at the hands of John Ross’s supporters. VERDICT Lay readers will find this an enlightening take on an oft-told story. Readers should also obtain Black Indians: An American Story and The Trail of Tears Cherokee Legacy, two documentaries written by Smith (available through

From Publisher’s Weekly:

The story of the Cherokee Nation is a study in suffering, displacement, and the determination of a people to carry on despite brutal government policies that culminated in the “Trail of Tears,” President Andrew Jackson’s 1834 policy of “removal” that saw nearly 4,000 of the 16,000 Cherokees die on their forced migration from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama to the Oklahoma Territory. Smith opens his thoughtful, concise and detailed study of this brutal chapter in the age of Jackson with a stirring account of the assassination of three Cherokee leaders—Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge, and his son, John Ridge—by Cherokee political rivals. The question, as the author ably traces backward from the bloody day in 1839, remains: “What should a good patriot do for his people?” Boudinot and the two Ridges advocated removal to save the tribal culture if not the land. They oversaw the rise of a prosperous society with its own written language and influential newspaper, but the encroachments of white settlement in the Appalachian southeast were relentless, and as Major Ridge resignedly noted in the 1835 treaty that acceded to removal, “they are strong and we are weak. We are few, they are many. We cannot remain here in comfort.” The personalities, political realities, and murderous resentments that stemmed from that treaty make for engrossing reading and a vivid evocation of how the Cherokees’ options dwindled until no promising choices for this strong and cohesive people remained.

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