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Extended Audio Sample Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary, by Joe Jackson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joe Jackson Narrator: Traber Burn Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Here is the epic life story of the Native American holy man who has inspired millions around the world.

Black Elk, the Native American holy man, is known to millions of readers around the world from his 1932 testimonial, Black Elk Speaks. Adapted by the poet John Neihardt from a series of interviews, it is one of the most widely read and admired works of American Indian literature. Cryptic and deeply personal, it has been read as a spiritual guide, a philosophical manifesto, and a text to be deconstructed—while the historical Black Elk has faded from view.

In this sweeping book, Joe Jackson provides the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West.

Born in an era of rising violence, Black Elk killed his first man at Little Big Horn, witnessed the death of his second cousin Crazy Horse, and traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Upon his return, he was swept up in the traditionalist Ghost Dance movement and shaken by the massacre at Wounded Knee. But Black Elk was not a warrior and instead chose the path of a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that haunted and inspired him, even after he converted to Catholicism in his later years.

In Black Elk, Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to Black Elk the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Jackson’s enlightening account of this influential Sioux leader…leaves the reader in awe of Black Elk’s struggle to help his people preserve their culture.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Stirring, wide-ranging biography of the Sioux elder whose testimonials underlay ‘one of the twentieth century’s most important documents on Native American culture’…Of much literary and historical merit and a fine addition to the shelves of anyone interested in this part of America’s unhappy past.”

    Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • “Jackson panoramically renders a narrative as majestic as the American West in this fine account of the life of Black Elk…A major contribution to Native American history.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Jackson endeavors to extricate the historical Black Elk from the mythology surrounding his legacy…Fascinating.”

    Library Journal

  • “Joe Jackson has penned an extraordinary history of Lakota warfare with the United States wrapped around a thorough biography of the legendary Black Elk. Outstanding.”

    Robert M. Utley, author of The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull

  • “A vivid portrait of a figure that has often been shrouded in shadows…Extraordinary.”

    Ari Kelman, winner of the Bancroft Prize

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