Today I’m treviewing Brothers of the Buffalo: A Novel of the Red River War. This historical fiction young adult novel is about two young men on the opposite sides of conflict. It’s a great book for young adults to read on their own or as part of a book group.
Here’s my review:
Tensions ran high between Native Americans and whites in the southern plains of the U.S. during the 1870s. Natives who conceded lands and hunting rights often were not provided with enough food to sustain themselves, and some rebelled. White hunters slaughtered buffalo the natives depended on for food and warmth. The U.S. cavalry was supposed to keep the peace, but that often proved a difficult job.
Against this backdrop, Joseph Bruchac has written a novel about these historic events seen through the eyes of Private Washington Vance Jr., a former slave and an African American cavalryman, and Wolf, a Cheyenne warrior. Brothers of the Buffalo: A Novel of the Red River War, shows us both sides of the story, as well as the circumstances that led up to the conflict in the years before it began.
An expert storyteller, Bruchac, himself a Native American, includes African and Native American lore that helps the reader understand the traditions that shaped each character. Each young man has a mother and sister who depend on him for support. Each holds himself to high moral standards in deciding on actions to take.
As the conflict heats up and the two cross paths again and again, they develop a bond through recognition of a kindred spirit from an opposing side. I highly recommend Brothers of the Buffalo for readers aged 12 and up. The issues it brings up should appeal to boys as well as girls and provide good discussion for mother-daughter book clubs.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.