Book Review: Brothers of the Buffalo by Joseph Bruchac

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.

Tomorrow I will feature an interview with the author.  You can also find out more at the publisher’s website.

Here’s my review:

Brothers of the Buffalo cover imageTensions 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.

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Book Review: Brothers of the Buffalo by Joseph Bruchac — 6 Comments

  1. This looks like an exciting book. Reading Historical books takes you to the place the book is situated in. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Marilyn

  2. Thank you for the review and giveaway. Historical novels are my favorite. When reading historical books you tend to learn things you did not know before.
    Marion

  3. Cindy, I’m so glad you reviewed this book. It looks fantastic. I really believe in the value of good historical fiction, written by people who can provide authenticity and background. It can teach a lot of history, as well as provide an opportunity for people of all ages to appreciate the literary aspect of a story. I often used historical fiction to teach my fifth grade students, as a way to get them emotionally involved in the events of history, because they became so invested in the stories that they wanted to know more about the times portrayed. I’m so glad Bruchac is still writing and contributing such important knowledge to our young people.

  4. This looks very interesting – can’t wait to read it! I had read Black Elk Speaks for a class in college and then re-read it recently (without the pressure of writing a paper at the end!). My kids were interested in reading it when I finished — I’m glad they want to read more historical fiction along with the current YA books.

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