Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation (Hardcover)

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"An insightful, unflinching portrayal of the remarkable siblings who came closer to altering the course of American history than any other Indian leaders."⁠
--Professor H.W. Brands, author of The Zealot and the Emancipator and Heirs of the Founders

The first biography of the great Shawnee leader in more than twenty years, and the first to make clear that his misunderstood younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was an equal partner in the last great pan-Indian alliance against the United States.


Until the Americans killed Tecumseh in 1813, he and his brother Tenskwatawa were the co-architects of the broadest pan-Indian confederation in United States history. In previous accounts of Tecumseh's life, Tenskwatawa has been dismissed as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But award-winning historian Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was a brilliant diplomat and war leader--admired by the same white Americans he opposed--it was Tenskwatawa, called the "Shawnee Prophet," who created a vital doctrine of religious and cultural revitalization that unified the disparate tribes of the Old Northwest. Detailed research of Native American society and customs provides a window into a world often erased from history books and reveals how both men came to power in different but no less important ways.

Cozzens brings us to the forefront of the chaos and violence that characterized the young American Republic, when settlers spilled across the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the British in the War of Independence, disregarding their rightful Indian owners. Tecumseh and the Prophet presents the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat--the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.

About the Author


PETER COZZENS is the author or editor of sixteen acclaimed books on the American Civil War and the Indian Wars of the American West, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Lincoln Prize. In 2002 he was awarded the American Foreign Service Association's highest honor, the William R. Rivkin Award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent. He lives in Kensington, Maryland.

Praise For…


"In 1768, the year of Tecumseh’s birth, 60,000 Native Americans in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley stood against a white colonial population of two million. As settlers crested the Appalachians, this imbalance only got worse. Against this epic backdrop, Peter Cozzens weaves his marvelous tale of the two Shawnee brothers who stood against the storm. Tecumseh and the Prophet tells a story of nation-defining events and larger-than-life leaders, and Cozzens' nuanced portrait stands as one of the best pieces of Native American history I have read.”
⁠—S. C. Gwynne, author of New York Times best-sellers Empire of the Summer Moon, and Rebel Yell


"Cozzens... shows his skill at revealing the social and daily realities of late 18th- and early 19th-century life, including wonderfully vivid descriptions of pioneer conditions and Algonquin villages... A long overdue non-fiction account. Tecumseh's life and the wider struggle for the Great Lakes and Ohio River valley now has a current, solid work by an accomplished author."
⁠—Library Journal, starred

"An enthralling, deeply researched dual biography of Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his younger brother... Cozzens’s cinematic narrative is steeped in Native American culture and laced with vivid battle scenes and character sketches. American history buffs will gain a new appreciation for what these resistance leaders accomplished."
⁠—Publishers Weekly

"Comprehensive... Blending historical fact with solid storytelling, Cozzens delivers a nuanced study of the great warrior and his times."
⁠—Kirkus


Product Details
ISBN: 9781524733254
ISBN-10: 1524733253
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Pages: 560