The Longest Trail: Writings on American Indian History, Culture, and Politics (Paperback)
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Alvin Josephy Jr.’s groundbreaking, popular books and essays advocated for a fair and true historical assessment of Native Americans, and set the course for modern Native American studies. This collection, which includes magazine articles, speeches, a white paper, and introductions and chapters of books, gives a generous and reasoned view of five hundred years of Indian history in North America from first settlements in the East to the long trek of the Nez Perce Indians in the Northwest. The essays deal with the origins of still unresolved troubles with treaties and territories to fishing and land rights, and who should own archeological finds, as well as the ideologies that underpin our Indian policy. Taken together the pieces give a revelatory introduction to American Indian history, a history that continues both to fascinate and inform.
About the Author
Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. was born in 1915 in New York. He went to school at Horace Mann and Harvard, worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood, a print and radio journalist in New York, and as a World War II Marine Corps combat correspondent in the Pacific; his recording of the amphibious landing at Guam was broadcast nationwide. After the war he became an editor at Time magazine and then American Heritage. On assignment with Time in Idaho in the early 1950s, he discovered the Nez Perce. That meeting changed his life—and that of many others. Fifty years of books and articles on Indian and western history followed. He was also a technical advisor on the film Little Big Man, a noted book and magazine editor, and an advocate for Indians. Josephy worked with Stewart Udall in the Kennedy administration, wrote an influential Indian "white paper" for the Nixon administration, and served as chair of the founding board of the National Museum of the American Indian. Many of his books remain in print. Alvin and his wife, Betty, bought a small ranch in the heart of Nez Perce Country in eastern Oregon in 1963, where the family spent summers for more than forty years. Alvin died in 2005, a year after Betty’s passing.
Praise for The Longest Trail
“This work reprints his most influential writings, many of which were either previously unavailable or difficult to locate. Through this work, one can trace the evolution of Native American activisim from the 1950s to the early 21st century. Essential for anyone interested in contemporary Native American history and culture.” —Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
“Alvin Josephy, Jr., is a hero to those of us who live in the American West.”—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert
“I marvel at the mark Josephy has made as the nation’s premier Indian historian.” —Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Interior
“[Josephy’s] informed, accurate, and human account of some of the major issues in Indian affairs today goes far in clarifying the basic thrust of the modern Indian movement.”—Vine Deloria, Jr., author of Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
“Only occasionally does one find such a felicitous pairing of author and subject. . . . Mr. Josephy again serves justice with his clear-eyed, even-handed scholarship.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Alvin was a man of his word. He was a man of honor who wielded influence with humility. He cared deeply about the future of Indian people. In his lifetime, he contributed much to help shape that future, seeking no acclaim for the work.” —from the foreword by Roberta Conner, director of the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute