Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chief Joseph

by Candy Moulton

One of the problems I have homeschooling here in China is when the curriculum says something like, "Go to the library with your child and find a good book on..." If we were studying literature, I might be able to find some of the classics. But find a book on Washington State history? Not in these parts. Anyway, when we were home this summer I tried to pick up a few kids' books that might enrich the curriculum. I took my wife's advice and rather than physically browse the bookstore shelves myself, I asked one of the salespeople for book advice. In the past, she's had great luck with knowledgable salespeople who were eager to help. Me, I didn't fare so well. They only found a few useful books, and this one, upon further perusal, turned out to be for grown-ups. Or at least high-schoolers. Anyway, I didn't discover this until after I purchased it and shlepped it to China. But that's a good thing because instead of returning it, I put it on my shelf and took the time to read it. Ms. Moulton has written an extremely engaging biography of Chief Joseph. All I knew about him last week was that, back in the 19th Century, he led the Nez Perce tribe in their attempt to evade the U.S. Army and flee to Canada rather than be shipped off to the reservation assigned to them. This book gave me an education, not only about that famous trek in 1877, but also about the changes in native life during Joseph's lifetime, from 1840 to 1904. It's an important look at our American heritage--both the injustices of our ancestors and the nobility and determination of those who took a stand for what's right.
LibraryThing link


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