The Bison Classic Editions

Launched in 1961 as UNP’s first trade imprint, Bison Books reflects the Press’s commitment to general-interest books that appeal to the educated reader. Originally published as inexpensive paperbacks, Bisons (as they became known) quickly caught on, publishing well-known authors from Mari Sandoz and Loren Eiseley to Leo Tolstoy and Stefan Zweig. After nearly sixty years of publishing, some works feel worlds away to contemporary readers.

The Bison Classic Editions aim to rectify that. With new covers and updated introductions contextualizing older works for modern readers, Bison Classics are an essential addition to any western history reader’s library. Below are a few of the newest additions.

The Soul of the Indian

An Interpretation

Charles A. Eastman (Ohyiesa)

New introduction by Brenda J. Child

The Soul of the Indian is Charles A. Eastman’s exploration and documentation of religion as he experienced it during the late nineteenth century. A Dakota physician and writer who sought to bring understanding between Native and non-Native Americans, Eastman (1858–1939) became one of the best-known Native Americans of his time and a significant intellectual figure whose clarity of vision endures today. In a straightforward manner Eastman emphasizes the universal quality and personal appeal of his Dakota religious heritage. The new introduction by Brenda J. Child grounds this important book in contemporary studies.

The Killing of Chief Crazyhorse

Three eyewitness views by the Indian, Chief He Dog, the Indian-white, William Garnett, and the white doctor, Valentine McGillycuddy

Edited and with a new introduction by Robert A. Clark, Commentary by Carroll Friswold

The Killing of Chief Crazy Horse is a story of envy, greed, and treachery. In the year after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the great Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse and his half-starved followers finally surrendered to the U.S. Army near Camp Robinson, Nebraska. When the army asked for his help rounding up the the Nez Percés, Crazy Horse’s reply was allegedly mistranslated by Frank Grouard, a scout for General George Crook. By August rumors had spread that Crazy Horse was planning another uprising. Tension continued to mount, and Crazy Horse was arrested at Fort Robinson on September 5. During a scuffle Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a bayonet in front of several witnesses. This edition brings three of those eyewitness accounts to life.

A Cycle of the West

The Song of Three Friends, The Song of Hugh Glass, The Song of Jed Smith, The Song of the Indian Wars, The Song of the Messiah

John G. Neihardt
Annotated by Joe Green, with a new introduction by Alan Birkelbach

A Cycle of the West rewards its readers with a sweeping saga of the American West and John G. Neihardt’s exhilarating vision of frontier history. It is infused with wonder, nostalgia, and a keen appreciation of epic history. Unquestionably the masterpiece of the poet who has been called the “American Homer,” A Cycle of the West celebrates the land and legends of the Old West in five narrative poems. The new introduction by former Texas poet laureate Alan Birkelbach and annotations by Joe Green present fresh views of Neihardt’s iconic work.

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