The story of the pivotal struggle between the Creek Indians and an insatiable, young United States for control over the Deep South—from the acclaimed historian and prize-winning author of The Earth is Weeping
The Creek War is one of the most tragic episodes in American history, leading to the greatest loss of Native American life on what is now U.S. soil. What began as a vicious internal conflict among the Creek Indians metastasized like a cancer. The ensuing Creek War of 1813-1814 shattered Native American control of the Deep South and led to the infamous Trail of Tears, in which the government forcibly removed the southeastern Indians from their homeland. The war also gave Andrew Jackson his first combat leadership role, and his newfound popularity after defeating the Creeks would set him on the path to the White House.
In A Brutal Reckoning, Peter Cozzens vividly captures the young Jackson, describing a brilliant but harsh military commander with unbridled ambition, a taste for cruelty, and a fraught sense of honor and duty. Jackson would not have won the war without the help of Native American allies, yet he denied their role and even insisted on their displacement, together with all the Indians of the American South in the Trail of Tears.
A conflict involving not only white Americans and Native Americans, but also the British and the Spanish, the Creek War opened the Deep South to the Cotton Kingdom, setting the stage for the American Civil War yet to come. No other single Indian conflict had such significant impact on the fate of America—and A Brutal Reckoning is the definitive book on this forgotten chapter in our history.
About the Author
PETER COZZENS is the author or editor of eighteen acclaimed books on the American Civil War and the Indian Wars of the American West, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Lincoln Prize. In 2002, he was presented with the William R. Rivkin Award, for his achievements as an officer in the American Foreign Service, the association’s highest honor. He lives in Kensington, Maryland.
"A penetrating and fast-paced account...The story of the Creek War is a sorry one, but Cozzens recounts it both with fairness and with a richness of color and detail....Cozzens writes with sensitivity about the political and cultural vise in which the Creeks were crushed." —Fergus M. Bordewich, The Wall Street Journal
"The Creek War...is still a largely forgotten episode in American history for the reading public....Cozzens sets out to correct that by admirably situating the conflict within early American history....As has come to be expected from Cozzens’s work, A Brutal Reckoning masterfully blends important cultural and biographical details with expressive and engaging military history." —Daniel N. Gullotta, The Washington Post
"Cozzens’ storytelling works well. The author reclaims a lost but important chapter in American history with an engaging, highly readable narrative that doesn’t make the details overbearing. The personal quality of this writing is reminiscent of Pierre Benton’s works on Canada in the War of 1812." —New York Journal of Books
"Impeccably researched....Cozzens provides an unhurried and rich exploration of Creek culture, tribal wars, and society....Fascinating....A Brutal Reckoning is an engrossing and objective study of the war that opened American expansion into the Deep South in the early 19th century and sent a proud Native American people into exile. Impressively detailed, it provides the definitive account of the Creek confederacy and its failure to overcome its own divisions in the face of a militantly expansionist white nation." —Peggy Kurkowski, Washington Independent Review of Books
"A seasoned historical storyteller, Cozzens portrays both Jackson and his Creek adversaries without minimizing their flaws, though he is clearly appalled by Jackson’s later treatment of the Indians during the Trail of Tears....An authoritative account of a disturbing chapter in the relations between the U.S. military and Indigenous peoples." —Kirkus, starred review
"Cozzens vividly describes the Creek Indians’ advanced society and clashes with other tribes, giving a grand sense of their civilization....Equally well brought to life, Cozzens' dramatic, often gory descriptions of armed conflicts among the Creeks and white settlers put flesh to myth-encased events.... A valuable addition to the history of Native Americans and the early years of the American republic. —Booklist, starred review