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Perspectives in Military History

Perspectives in Military History


The Earth Is Weeping

The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West

Peter Cozzens


No epoch in American history is more deeply shrouded in myth than the Indian Wars of the American West. According to author Peter Cozzens, the past 125 years of American popular history, academic scholarship, film, and fiction have depicted the era as a struggle between absolute good and evil, changing the roles of heroes and villains to accommodate the shifting national consciousness. On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Cozzens will present a lecture at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to illuminate the wars and the U.S. Army’s role in the destruction of one culture enabling another to flourish.

As the great Civil War ended, the expanding United States relied on the Army to both spearhead westward expansion and protect the industry and culture frontiersmen brought with them. The push west sparked a three-decade war with the Native Americans, who sought to defend their traditions, their lands, and their lives. In his talk, which will be enhanced with a vividly illustrated PowerPoint, Cozzens will examine and debunk the most pervasive and pernicious of the myths surrounding the Indian Wars. He also will address the nature and limitations of the U.S. Army during the era of the Indian Wars, a period he believes represents the nadir of the American military establishment.

Peter Cozzens has written or edited seventeen books about the American West and the American Civil War. His writings include This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga and The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga, among others. His most recent book, The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, published in 2016, was chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top ten history books of 2016, and received the 2017 Gilder Lehrman Prize in Military History. Aside from writing, Cozzens has also served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, and is a recipient of the American Foreign Service Association’s highest award. Prior to his work with the Department of State, Cozzens served as an Army officer for four years.

Perspectives in Military History