Saturday, May 19, 2007

Carley: "The Dakota War of 1862: Minnesota's Other Civil War"

Kenneth Carley wrote the first modern, comprehensive history of the 1862 Dakota uprising in Minnesota. Between 1961 and 1972, his book was been reprinted several times, revised, and retitled. Although later works go into far more detail, The Dakota War of 1862: Minnesota's Other Civil War remains a useful work, a compact yet broad introduction to the conflict. At less than 100 pages, it can be read in a couple sittings. It is also chock full of photographs and artwork, making it the richest visual treatment of the subject.

Directed toward a general audience, The Dakota War unfortunately lacks footnotes. Perhaps in an effort to make it more accessible to readers of all ages, Carley's book also contains a rather sanitized recounting of the atrocities committed during the uprising, lacking the graphic honesty found in more recent works such as Duane Schultz's Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 and Lincoln And The Sioux Uprising Of 1862 by Hank Cox. These issues aside, The Dakota War of 1862 has held up well in the 45+ years that have passed since its initial publication.

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