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Festival Saturday, February 17, 2024
The Creek War was one of the most tragic episodes in Indian history, leading to the greatest loss of Native American life on U.S. soil. What began as internal division between the Creek Indians metastasized like a cancer, weakening the tribes’ control, and allowing the government to forcefully remove Indians from their homes. The war also gave Andrew Jackson his first 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 harsh military commander with unbridled ambition, a taste for cruelty, and a near perverse sense of honor and duty. Jackson never would have won the war without the help of Native American scouts who crossed over enemy lines, yet he denied their role and even insisted on their displacement, just as Jackson infamously did to the Cherokees many years later.
Spanning decades of conflict involving white Americans and Native Americans, but also the British and Spanish, the Creek War brought white settlers to Alabama, Mississippi, and western Georgia, 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.
Peter Cozzens is the author or editor of sixteen 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 awarded the American Foreign Service Association’s highest honor, the William R. Rivkin Award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent. He lives in Kensington, Maryland.