Toward the Setting Sun
John Ross, the Cherokees and the Trail of Tears
By Brian Hicks
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802119636, 416pp.)
Publication Date: January 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Toward the Setting Sun chronicles one of the most significant but least explored periods in American history, recounting the little known story of the first white man to champion the voiceless Native American cause.
Son of a Scottish trader and a quarter-Cherokee woman, Ross was educated in white schools and was only one-eighth Indian by blood. But as Cherokee chief in the mid-nineteenth century, he would guide the tribe through its most turbulent period. The Cherokees' plight lay at the epicenter of nearly all the key issues facing a young America: western expansion, states' rights, judicial power, and racial discrimination. Clashes between Ross and President Andrew Jackson raged from battlefields to the White House and Supreme Court. As whites settled illegally on the Nation's land, the chief steadfastly refused to sign a removal treaty. Only when a group of renegade Cherokees betrayed their chief and negotiated an agreement with Jackson's men was he forced to begin his journey west. In one of America's great tragedies, thousands died during the Cherokees' migration on the Trail of Tears.
Toward the Setting Sun retells the story of expansionism from the native perspective, and takes a critical look at the well-rehearsed story of American progress.
Brian Hicks is a senior writer for The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. where he lives. This is his fifth book on Cherokee heritage.
Richly detailed and well-researched, this heartbreaking history unfolds like a political thriller with a deeply human side.”Publishers Weekly
A vigorous account of the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their southern homelands. . .[Hicks] takes a measured view of Ross’s opponents and allies alike, shedding new light on the career of other eminent figures such as the newspaperman and Confederate general Stand Watie. A welcome addition to Cherokee history.”Kirkus
By focusing on the people behind the tragedy of the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears, Brian Hicks makes us see how individual men and women shaped the complex course of history. Written with sympathy and verve, Toward the Setting Sun is an important book that is also a pleasure to read.”Nathaniel Philbrick, author Why Read Moby-Dick?, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the National Book Award-winning In the Heart of the Sea
In this powerful and engaging new book, Brian Hicks tells the compelling story of Chief John Ross and the tragedy of the Cherokee Nation. By focusing on the Ross family, Hicks brings narrative energy and original insight to a grim and important chapter of American life.”Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion
With careful probing and quiet eloquence, Brian Hicks shows us the moral complexities of a leader struggling to make sense of his shrinking world. You feel the fate of John Ross and the Cherokees, a great people whose only crime was living in the path of a ravenous, covetous empire.”Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder
Brian Hicks' mastery has made history come alive as he reveals the voices of the past reaching out to us. Toward the Setting Sun is an extraordinary account of a sad time in our nation's history. It is truly timeless and of great historical worth.”Clive Cussler, author of Spartan Gold
Clear and compelling Hicks is a gifted storyteller.” Glenn C. Altschuler, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Hicks is a skilled writer and historian and this book about a tragic chapter in our nation’s story is enlightening and powerful.” The Boston Globe
Toward the Setting Sun’ is a powerful metaphor for the U.S. government’s forced expatriation of the [Cherokees] Hick’s book is a must-read [It] bears the trenchant style of a fine writer.” The Post and Courier
[Well] written Hicks does a great job of establishing and building up his information.” Library Journal
Brian Hicks tells a compelling story about a determined Cherokee leader who was forced to make hard choices absent any good options in a rapidly changing land. Toward the Setting Sun is an honest, provocative examination of tragic betrayal and the limits of power for the Native American.”Scott Zesch, author of The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier
A riveting history of the white chief who led the Cherokee tribe through their most progressive era, then through their greatest tragedy.” The Daily Beast
An excellent introduction to an important episode in U.S. history, and a gateway to further Native American study.” Jim Cullen, History News Network.com
This tragic chronicle has numerous complex subplots that require a talented storyteller such as Brian Hicks absorbing [Toward the Setting Sun] is narrative history at its best.” History Book Club.com
[T]he engaging writing style will draw in readers and will make accessible to a wide audience both the magnitude of the tragedy of removal and the resiliency of the Cherokee peoples” Choice, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries