An American Holocaust, The Story of the Cherokee Displacement


By Steve Inskeep

Jacksonland is an American story, a tragedy. It is about greed, white man’s destiny, struggle and death. It is a story not well known and one everyone should hear.

As the title suggests, Steve Inskeep, co-host of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” writes about the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Yet the book is more than your traditional presidential biography.

Jacksonland is a narrative about the plight of the Native American. It is a story focused on the Cherokee Tribe and how the American government purloined Cherokee lands and removed the tribal citizens westward en masse. Jacksonland is a story of how one population was forcefully cordoned off from the American Democracy experiment.

Inskeep begins this American story with the friendship between war hero, General Andrew Jackson, and his military compatriot and Cherokee chief, John Ross. These wartime comrades soon become enemies.

After winning a contentious election for the presidency of the United States in 1829, Jackson began to implement his initiative to expel Native Americans from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. He intended to relocate them in the western territories, grabbing their land for white settlers.

Jackson promised his compatriot John Ross, a mixed-race Cherokee politician, that the indigenous populations would receive all the benefits afforded countrymen if only the tribes adopted the “civilized ways” of white Americans.

In keeping with politics, it was a promise not kept.

The Cherokee were instead commanded to voluntarily leave their farms and communities, which had been their homes for generations. John Ross took the Cherokee’s battle to the United States Supreme Court and won!

However, President Jackson chose to ignore the court’s decision. Native Americans in Tennessee and Georgia were forcibly removed from their homes at gunpoint, crowded into internment camps before being loaded into train boxcars and barges for involuntarily transport to the undeveloped wilderness.

A missionary, who lived among the Cherokees, described them as “prisoners who had been hurled from comfortable circumstances into abject poverty.” Many were forced to walk hundreds of miles. The internment camps were death traps and thousands died there from starvation. Thousands more died during the march westward from epidemic diseases. It was America’s Holocaust.

While this tragedy contemporaneously unfolded during the time of slavery, the country was rather immune to the plight of the Native American and their relocation. There were some parallel movements to abolition movement that sought to protect the Native American, but their violent and forceful relocation does not receive the same coverage and condemnation in American history books.

Jacksonland provides an in-depth look at the oft overlooked and forgotten plight of Native Americans in the United States. If you are a history buff and concerned about the stories not told publicly, then Inskeep’s Jacksonland is for you.

Girl Dating to a New Best Friend

best friendMWF Seeking BFF
by Rachel Bertsche

Reading Challenges: 20 In Your 20s

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Reading challenges: 20 In Your 20s

Rachel Bertsche’s memoir about her innovative approach to finding a new best friend will keep you laughing, cringing with sympathy embarrassment, and nodding along in recognition of your own thoughts put to paper.

Having moved to Chicago to be with her husband, Bertsche left her two childhood best friends in New York City. After three years of work, mild acquaintances, and loneliness, Bertsche decides to do something about her lack of a local best friend. Read more

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Strength in Vulnerability – A review of Brain On Fire

brain on fire

Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness
by Susannah Cahalan


You’re a vibrant woman in her twenties with the beginnings of a great career in journalism, an attentive boyfriend and an apartment in New York City. One day you wake up in a hospital, delirious, restrained and with no memory of how you got there. Your family and boyfriend can’t recognize the person you have become.

It sounds like the makings of a psychological thriller or a horror movie.

For Susannah Cahalan it was her very real, living nightmare. Read more

The Boys In The Boat – A Review

The boys in the boatThe Boys in the Boat
by Daniel James Brown


Nine men in one boat achieve a lasting legacy. If The Boys in the Boat were to be summarized in one sentence that would be it.

The Boys in the Boat follows the nine students of the University of Washington who won the gold medal in rowing at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. Beginning with their first days in a boat to their victory, The Boys in the Boat marks a notable, but often forgotten, moment in history. Read more

My Dreams Turned Into My Personal Comedy Show

It’s been a month, since I last posted a book review. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the emphasis on bookstores this past month, but it’s time to return to the land of bound paper.



Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea
by Chelsea Handler


Last month, in an effort to have some light reading, I bought Are You There Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea. I need to start this review in a state of confession. I read this book on a Kindle. Keep your pants on folks! Before everyone races back to my post on ereaders and points out my hyposcrisy, let me explain myself. Read more

Different Paths to the Same Mountain Summit, Religion is Not: And other Yodic-esque Ideas


God Is Not One
by Stephen Prothero


From the outset, God is Not One forced me to reevaluate my reasoning for studying religions. Stephen Prothero introduces the idea that the current trend of defining religions as different paths to the same end goal, an attempt at pluralism, is false and argues that each religion has different problems and different goals. Prothero outlines these problems and solutions as follows: Read more

Fleeing Eden: a Pedro Pan’s account of life on the lizard-shaped island

download (11)Waiting For Snow In Havana
by Carlos Eire

Swearing portraits, firecrackers, haunting blue-eyed Jesus, evil lizards, Italian Jesuits and Castro all add vibrancy and humor to Carlos Eire’s Waiting for Snow in Havana.  Eire’s memoir about his childhood in revolution crazed Cuba is a great blend of hindsight, older-self reflection and raw child anecdotes.  When I first picked up Waiting for Snow in Havana I expected a historical autobiography about Operation Pedro Pan that airlifted 14,000 children out of Cuba and to the United States.  Instead, I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover Eire’s memoir read like fiction.  From the first pages in which Eire introduces his parents as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the vivid imagery and lively language captures a reader.

Read more

Save the Middle East, Save the World: One man’s memoir and his hopes for the future

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Our Last Best Chance
by King Abdullah II


Jordanian King Abdullah II published his memoir in the historical, anecdotal, and topical book Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril.  In an attempt to share his “memories, impressions, and views,” King Abdullah writes a detailed chronology of his life according to the events revolving around the Middle East crisis.

Read more

Exterminating Literacy Would Turn the World into Goddess Worshipping, Earth Loving Hippies – Doesn’t sound too bad


The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
by Leonard Shlain


“The Alphabet Versus The Goddess” constantly reminded me of a book idea a girl in my senior year AP Euro class recommended, history from the perspective of taxation.  However, instead of taxation, Leonard Shlain examines history from the view of literacy and its effect on the feminine.  He claims that “writing fosters a patriarchal outlook” dissolving the role of the goddess and effectively the rights of women.  Read more