Kit Carson has been a part of my memory since my earliest reading. His name echoes through history as the most resourceful of the mountain men, buffalo hunters, guides to explorers, and Indian killers, but this hagiographic character had no flesh and blood reality to me until I read this masterful book. In Blood and Thunder Sides uses Kit Carson as the lynchpin to explore the westward expansion of the 1840’s and 50’s as John C. Fremont and Stephen Watts Kearney moved west to add New Mexico, Arizona and California to America’s possessions, thus fulfilling James K. Polk’s ambition to make the United States into a truly continental nation. He then details the destruction of the Navajo, Apache, and Comanche tribes by the westward expansion as well as the military and political forces supporting it.
Kit Carson early on left his childhood home in
The events generally known as the “Indian wars” emerge in Blood and Thunder as the tragedy we now understand them to be. At Polk’s insistence and through the Mexican War,