John Finerty Reports the Sioux War
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
In print at last, this collection of Finerty’s letters and telegrams to his hometown newspaper, written from the field during Crook’s campaign, conveys the full extent of the reporter’s experience and observations during this time of great excitement and upheaval in the West. An introduction and annotations by Paul L. Hedren, a lifelong historian of the period, provide ample biographical and historical background for Finerty’s account.
Four times under fire, giving as well as he got, Finerty reported on the action with the immediacy of an unfolding wartime story. To his riveting dispatches on the Rosebud and Slim Buttes battles, this collection adds accounts of the lesser-known Sibley scout and the tortures of the campaign trail, penned by a keen-eyed newsman who rode at the front through virtually all of the action. Here, too, is an intimate look at the Black Hills gold rush and at principal towns like Deadwood and Custer City, captured in the earliest moments of their colorful history.
Hedren’s introduction places Finerty not only on the scene in Wyoming, Montana, and Dakota during the Indian campaign, but also in the context of battlefield journalism at a critical time in its evolution. Publication of this volume confirms John Finerty’s outsize role in that historical moment.
“Marking a definitive contribution to the dual fields of frontier history and frontier journalism, John Finerty Reports the Sioux War assures that Finerty’s earlier, contemporaneous reporting of 1876 stands alongside his later work, War-Path and Bivouac, as a significant historical resource in its own right. Paul L. Hedren has dug deep into Finerty’s life and presents a well-rounded story of a news reporter working in the field at a time when journalism itself was still evolving the reporter’s role.”—Sandy Barnard, author of Photographing Custer’s Battlefield: The Images of Kenneth F. Roahen
“Hedren’s contribution to the history of the Indian wars is not limited to his work in collecting and publishing Finerty’s newspaper accounts, though that collection affords us a timely view of the proceedings. In addition Hedren offers succinct interpretations that open each chapter of his book as they introduce the next grouping of Finerty missives. The up-to-the-minute coverage by Finerty and the cogent context and background offered by Hedren make for a powerful addition to our understanding of the Sioux war.”---Nebraska History