The Holy Road by Michael Blake is the sequel to Dances With Wolves and further explores the downfall of the North American Plain Indians, in this case, the Comanche. The Plain Indians were located in a very unfortunate place for them. Originally bypassed as the white people travelled through on their way to the gold fields of California and rich farmlands of Oregon, eventually these vast grasslands attracted settlers who wished to set their roots in the prairie heartlands. At the same time the government in Washington was planning on expanding to the Pacific Ocean. The best way to bind the country together was to build a railroad that would connect from sea to sea.
As the Comanche hear about other Indians that are being forced onto reservations, they fear what is coming for them and dread the possibility that their way of life will be stripped from them and they will be forced to live according to the white man’s rules. The Comanche nation was a very distinct community ruled by it’s own conventions, customs and societies that, unfortunately was neither understood by or meshed with white people’s idea of government. In those days both sides felt that what could not be understood must change or be wiped out.
In the Holy Road, Blake once again tells the story of the man who came to be known as Dances With Wolves and his wife, captured as a child, Stands With Fist. More than any other Comanche, he knows what the coming of the railroad and the influx of settlers will do to the Indians. Unfortunately, time is not on their side and while he and his two elder children are out hunting, their village is hit by Texas Rangers. The Rangers realize that Stands With Fist is a white woman and take her and her young daughter with them. Dances With Wolves is faced with the difficult task of reuniting his family.
Michael Blake tells an excellent story while at the same time, filling in with broad strokes the bigger picture of one nation crumbing as it must make way for a newer, stronger power. An emotional read but without the closer, personal feel of Dances With Wolves. I do, however, highly recommend both these books to anyone interested in this time period in American history.
The Holy Road is not nearly as good as Dances With Wolves. It moves slowly, and you pretty much know how it's going to end, and you know it's not going to end well for Dances With Wolves, Stands with a Fist, and the other Comanches. I did enjoy the dialogue between the Comanche and the Whites, and I imagine it's pretty close to the real dialogue that happened historically between whites and the native American Indians during that time.
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