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Veteran Chicago reporter and editor Crimmins (Obits and Murders) explores the Windy City's roots in this vividly imagined and scrupulously documented historical. Fort Dearborn is established in 1803 as an isolated outpost near the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, deep in Indian country. The fort, home to 81 soldiers and their families, shares its favorable site with a handful of other settlers including a wealthy Indian trader, John Kinzie. After 20 years of uneasy truce, Indian tribes in the Northwest Territory, loosely affiliated under the charismatic leadership of a Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, and allied with the English, attack vulnerable American frontier garrisons as the war of 1812 breaks out. A coalition of tribes led by the neighboring Potawatomies set their sights on Dearborn. Crimmins populates his novel with historical figures drawn from his extensive research, but he employs two fictional characters Jimmy Wheeler, the young son of one of the fort's soldiers, and Jimmy's friend Strong Pike, a young Potawatomie boy who lives nearby to present a balanced microcosm of an epic struggle. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Crimmins, a longtime Chicago journalist, presents a stunning panoply of politics, customs, and conflicts in this historical novel focused on the first organized settlement in Chicago. As noted in the foreword, by Chicago historian Gerald Danzer, the settlement at Fort Dearborn played a crucial role in determining the fate of Native Americans throughout the Great Lakes region. Crimmins dramatizes these issues by focusing on daily life at the fort and in its environs, from the pivotal years 1807 through 1812, the date of the infamous massacre at Fort Dearborn. We view events through the eyes of two sets of characters: two young boys, one white, one Indian, and their fathers, one a sergeant with the U.S. First Infantry, the other a Potawatomi warrior. The novel reads like a suspense story yet will reward readers with in-depth knowledge of a pivotal period in U.S. history. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2006 Booklist