The Red and the White
A Family Saga of the American West
A Liveright book
Winner of the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.
One of the American West’s bloodiest—and least-known—massacres is searingly re-created in this generation-spanning history of native-white intermarriage.
National Book Award–winning histories such as The Hemingses of Monticello and Slaves in the Family have raised our awareness about America’s intimately mixed black and white past. Award-winning western historian Andrew R. Graybill now sheds light on the overlooked interracial Native-white relationships critical in the development of the trans-Mississippi West in this multigenerational saga. Beginning in 1844 with the marriage of Montana fur trader Malcolm Clarke and his Piegan Blackfeet bride, Coth-co-co-na, Graybill traces the family from the mid-nineteenth century, when such mixed marriages proliferated, to the first half of the twentieth, when Clarke ’s children and grandchildren often encountered virulent prejudice. At the center of Graybill’s history is the virtually unexamined 1870 Marias Massacre, on a par with the more infamous slaughters at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, an episode set in motion by the murder of Malcolm Clarke and in which Clarke ’s two sons rode with the Second U.S. Cavalry to kill their own blood relatives.
- October 2013
- 6.5 × 9.6 in
/ 368 pages
- Sales Territory: Worldwide
Endorsements & Reviews
“With meticulous research and a keen eye for the grand sweep of time and space in the West, Andrew Graybill tells the story of a forgotten massacre that blows apart stereotypes of the nineteenth-century frontier. He brings to life a remarkable family that lived at the intersection of worlds, where the fur trade and intermarriage blurred the distinction between American Indians and white Americans. In this clan's corner of Montana, personal conflicts met national policy and mass migration in an explosion of violence and political recriminations.” — T.J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War
“A touching portrait of race relations on the frontier… Graybill uncovers a forgotten history culminating in the Marias Massacre, an epochal event for the Blackfeet but so obscure today that no marker commemorates its location. Evocative details and a close attention to the arc of its subjects’ lives lend Graybill’s narrative emotional heft… An entertaining and insightful exposition of an unjustly ignored facet of the American social fabric.” — Kirkus Reviews
“[The Clarke family’s] experiences provide fascinating insights into race relations on the evolving frontier…. Graybill’s book is highly recommended for all readers interested in the 19-century West.” — Library Journal
“[Graybill’s] story of how one family walked “in two worlds—one red, the other white”—is, in the end, fascinating and often moving.” — Robert B. Mitchell, The Washington Post
“The Red and the White…transforms a tragic, 19th-century story of heartbreak and revenge on the Rocky Mountain frontier, into a dynamic, multi-generational history that connects the American entrada into the Rockies with the Lewis and Clark expedition up to the white-Indian relations in present-day Montana. …Graybill’s saga is Shakespearean in its tragedy and Biblical in its parable of how the Indian tribes have endured a diaspora of such magnitude… [The] Clarke family chose a purposeful, meaningful life, offering up, for all of us, a shining example of the power and strength of the human spirit.” — Stuart Rosebrook, True West
“Graybill…has written a gripping Western saga. But more, he has plumbed the depth of racial and generational conflict by means of previously unexamined archival material and interviews with descendants on both sides…. Western history buffs and general readers alike cannot fail to profit from a careful reading of its pages—dramatic, heartbreaking.” — The Wichita Eagle
“As an account, Graybill’s book could not be bettered… The Red and the White—complete with a Clarke family tree, maps, extensive notes, an up-to-date bibliography and a helpful index—constitutes an engrossing and important contribution to our understanding of the very mixed and complex past of the American West.” — Mick Gidley, Times Literary Supplement