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Murder at the Mission

Best Seller
Murder at the Mission by Blaine Harden
Hardcover $30.00
Apr 27, 2021 | ISBN 9780525561668

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  • Apr 27, 2021 | ISBN 9780525561668

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  • Apr 27, 2021 | ISBN 9780525561675

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Praise

“Terrifically readable.” Los Angeles Times

“A richly detailed and expertly researched account of how a concocted story […] became a part of American legend . . . Harden’s deeply researched book, often from the letters and words of the principle figures themselves to rebuke lies told on their behalf, is not history revised. Murder at the Mission is history revealed.” Spokesman Review

“[A] fascinating, well-written exposé . . . Harden skillfully brings to life the collision of myth and reality. He has managed to write a fittingly timely book that fits well into the post-Donald Trump era of false narratives, conspiracy theories, and cries of fake news.” New York Journal of Books

“A well-written, fast-paced account . . . [that] succeeds in bringing often-forgotten history front and center . . . Highly recommended.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Harden’s vivid reconstruction illustrates the process of Western mythmaking, beloved of Americans when it paints them in a heroic light; and of cultural collision, with the Whitmans almost willfully ignoring the Cayuse worldview . . . A boon for those who like their history unadorned by obfuscation and legend.” Kirkus Reviews

“Harden meticulously outlines how one bitter minister crafted an outlandish lie out of the Whitmans’ deaths, promoting a narrow vision of heroic white Christians destined to conquer the land, a vision that persisted into the twentieth century, echoing far beyond the Pacific Northwest.” Booklist

“[A] lively history . . . Enriched by dramatic storytelling and candid interviews with contemporary Cayuses, this immersive account illuminates how the tragedies of the past inform the present.” Publishers Weekly

“A gifted writer and a tenacious sleuth, Blaine Harden has hit the reset button on a troubling cluster of myths that lie at the foundation of the Anglo-American settlement of the Pacific Northwest. Elucidating, captivating, skeptical of conventional assumptions, and doggedly on the scent of the truth, Murder at the Mission is narrative history at its very best.” —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

“In this remarkable history of dishonesty, greed, and perseverance, Harden exposes the chauvinistic and fictitious story that rests at the foundation of U.S. expansion in the Pacific Northwest. He shows how the lionizing of missionaries and mountain men created a triumphant, self-serving narrative that justified the dispossession of the region’s native inhabitants. And in the book’s indispensable conclusion, he describes how the Cayuse Indians survived the onslaught and are now working to rebuild their communities and restore their traditional homelands. Murder at the Mission is a riveting investigation of both American myth-making and the real history that lies beneath.” Claudio Saunt, author of Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

“In crisp and engaging prose, Harden charts the birth, life, and (one hopes) death of a big American lie, exposing along the way a century-long list of willing collaborators: missionaries, Indian agents, newspaper editors, politicians, historians, plain old con men, and a university president. Murder at the Mission is narrative history that matters, made all the more necessary because the lie’s consequences for the Cayuse people are today as real, and raw, as ever.” Scott W. Berg, author of 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Frontier’s End

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