At first glance, Lakota America is every inch a sober, stately work of scholarship ... Look again, however, and you’ll catch something roiling beneath that professional composure: a lively truculence that gives this book its pulse, and its purpose. Pekka Hamalainen’s impressive history is also a quarrel with the field, with how history—especially the history of indigenous Americans—has been told and sold ... Hamalainen renders the Lakotas as full protagonists. This is an American story with their contribution, influence and version of events at the center—and to build that story, there is a rich, idiosyncratic archive to draw on ... Hamalainen seeks to...infuse a sense of chance and contingency in the narrative ... He sows this feeling of uncertainty into the composition of the book, replacing a traditional arc ... Lakota America takes us from the 16th century to the present, with painstaking, carefully marshaled detail, but its real feat is in threading how the Lakota philosophy and vision of the world guided their reinventions and their dealings with colonial powers ... Hamalainen has the novelist’s relish for the strange, pungent detail, and he conjures early America in swift strokes ... an accomplished, and subtle, study.
In Lakota America, a comprehensive history of the tribe, Mr Hamalainen portrays them as trailblazers of empire, and forceful actors in the power games of North America ... while there was no escaping the flood of American 'progress', Mr Hamalainen shows that, for a time, some indigenous tribes surfed the crest of the wave.
Hämäläinen...is one of the world’s leading experts on nomadic equestrian peoples. His latest monograph focuses on the evolution of the Lakota from the 16th to 21st century ... An essential purchase for all collections of American history and Native American studies.