EUBANK & SOUTHERN SE--The Artist Ken Saville and I were out buying socks and hamburger at the Costco when Ken ran across the book "Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides. Ken had already read Sides' "Ghost Soldiers" and was eager to buy it. He should have. Nothing lasts in those stores forever.
Now I see that N. Scott Momaday has reviewed it in today's New York Times. Not only that, today's NewMexiKen quotes Momaday and adds a few comments of his own. Believe me, this will be considered a "must have" book for anybody interested in the history of New Mexico...especially the Long Walk and the role of Kit Carson.
Kit Carson was not a simple character. Yet he is listed in the cutline below his picture in the NYT simply as "Kit Carson, Indian Killer." Yes. The Navajos called him Red Sleeves. And an Arapaho woman called him Husband. It was his first marriage. He was at least tri-lingual and as authentic a frontiersman as the west has to offer. His home in Taos still stands.
But for some reason that I cannot begin to understand, he commenced rounding up the Navajos and marching them clear across New Mexico to Bosque Redondo near present-day Fort Sumner. The result was 4 years of starvation and disease. During the Long Walk itself many Navajo were shot where they fell from exhaustion or left to die. 2000 were dead before the end of the 450 mile mid-winter journey. In addition, at the camp at Bosque Redondo 3000 more died before they were allowed to walk home again.
Maybe the book would help me understand that nightmare.