Devon A. Mihesuah’s Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero is a monograph with a mission: to debunk poorly sourced popular stories about a Cherokee man named Ned Christie, who died an accused murderer in 1892. In these popular accounts, Christie has been portrayed as a vicious, “uncivilized” outlaw who committed numerous crimes. Some authors have attempted to exonerate him, but Mihesuah explains that even these works suffer from a lack of proper sourcing. Thus, the true story of Ned Christie, set in the context of turbulent late-nineteenth-century Indian Territory, had not yet been told. Mihesuah finally writes that story.

Books like this are important today, when academic expertise is often dismissed and many would still prefer to read a story about “bad Indians” and “good white guys.” Mihesuah fights these preconceived notions with deep research and careful sourcing,...

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