HUNDRED IN THE HAND
Seeking to complete the compelling story of the American West, best-selling Lakota author Joseph Marshall brings a new slant to the traditional Western: historical fiction written from the Native American viewpoint. The first novel in this new series, Hundred in the Hand takes place during the Battle of the Hundred in the Hand otherwise known as the Fetterman Massacre of 1866, which was an important victory for the Lakota and a turning point for both sides. The story is told through the eyes of Cloud, a dedicated and able warrior who fought alongside a young Crazy Horse. A beautifully written and fast-paced Western,
Seeking to complete the compelling story of the American West, best-selling Lakota author Joseph Marshall brings a new slant to the traditional Western: historical fiction written from the Native American viewpoint. The first novel in this new series, Hundred in the Hand takes place during the Battle of the Hundred in the Hand otherwise known as the Fetterman Massacre of 1866, which was an important victory for the Lakota and a turning point for both sides. The story is told through the eyes of Cloud, a dedicated and able warrior who fought alongside a young Crazy Horse. A beautifully written and fast-paced Western, Hundred in the Hand brings a new depth to the story of the battle and the history of the Lakota people.
- Fulcrum Publishing
- September 2007
- 400 Pages
“Marshall has tapped into an old form and infused it with a slightly different brand of knowledge to produce a swift, compelling read. Simply put, if you like Westerns, you’ll love this one.”
—The Washington Post
“…a fine historical novel in a class with Larry McMurtry’s tales of life on the Western frontier.” — Library Journal
Why is the story of the battle framed by Cloud’s visit to the Monument of Stone with his family? Does this narrative frame imply something about the culture of the Lakota? In the end, what does Cloud want his children and grandchildren to learn about the battle?
What is the battle fought by his wife and his mother that Cloud refers to as the “quiet” battle in the first chapter?
In a review, The Washington Post praised the book as a traditional Western. In what ways is it traditional and in what ways is it not? In what ways does the narrative perspective reinvent or reinterpret the genre of the Western?
This battle is described through the eyes of a Lakota warrior. How does it differ from the standard historical view of this battle? Research and compare the two.
What is Cloud’s role in the Lakota Community? How does he differ from the other warriors? How does he feel about the fact that his wife was not born a Lakota and is white? How does he perceive the Long Knives? Does his view in any way differ from the other Lakota?
What is the significance of the character of Rabbit? Why does the story of the battle begin with his injury? What is special about his relationship with Cloud? Why does he at times operate independently from the rest of the tribe? Discuss how his injury changes him and his attitude toward the white settlers.
What does the presence of a white character, Sweetwater, within the Lakota community allow the author to explore? Discuss Sweetwater’s feeling about her past and about being part of the Lakota community.
What is the significance of the character of Hornsby? Why is he so obsessed with Sweetwater and with rescuing her? What is Sweetwater’s response to seeing Hornsby? What perspective does he provide of the Lakota and their community and their ability as warriors? What does his perspective of his fellow white settlers reveal to the reader?
What does this novel reveal about the character of the young Crazy Horse? Does the reader get a sense of what kind of warrior he will become? Toward the end of the novel, Cloud says of Crazy Horse, “There was a reason he always dressed plainly, almost shabbily sometimes. There was a reason he was a quiet and humble young man when he walked through the village and then became a reckless whirlwind on the battlefield. That reason was his burden to bear alone.” What is his burden?
Is this battle just about land for the Lakota and the other Native American tribes? Is there another battle going on in the book? Discuss the battle within the tribe as it is changing and adapting to not only the threat and presence of the Long Knives, but also to the changing landscape and the different world that the young Lakota are experiencing. Find examples in the book in which the Lakota experience this internal tension and how their world is changing.
What does winning this battle mean for the Lakota?
What are the differences between the Lakota and the white settlers as perceived by the Lakota? How do they balance the new things they gain from the white settlers with the ancient ways of their culture? For example, Cloud explains to his grandson, “The white man came with his things, some or many of which we all use in our homes, like those cups, knives, cooking pots, and blankets and cloth. Many, many things. But he also caused us to change our ways, too.”