Source:Ehle, John. Trail of Tears

Source Trail of Tears
The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation
Author Ehle, John
Place Virginia, United States
Mississippi, United States
Kentucky, United States
Missouri, United States
South Carolina, United States
West Virginia, United States
Arkansas, United States
Texas, United States
Florida, United States
Alabama, United States
Georgia, United States
Louisiana, United States
North Carolina, United States
Tennessee, United States
Year range 1838 - 1838
Subject Ethnic/Cultural
Ethnicity / Culture Native American
Publication information
Type Book
Publisher Doubleday
Date issued 1988, c1988
Place issued New York, New York
Ehle, John. Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. (New York, New York: Doubleday, 1988, c1988).
Family History Center history center
John L. Throckmorton Library (Fort Bragg, NC)

Image:Trail Cover.jpg



The fascinating portrayal of the Cherokee nation, filled with Indian legend, lore, and religion--a gripping American drama of power, politics, betrayal, and ambition.[1] Recounts the many broken U.S. treaties with the Cherokees, describes how they were forced to leave their lands in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina, and looks at the hardships they faced on the trail west.[2]


"One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. As he and other Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislatiors, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous 'Trail of Tears.' Popular history for public libraries." --Mary B. Davis, Museum of American Indian Lib., New York[3]

"A meticulously researched but not wholly satisfactory history of the Cherokees from 1770 to 1838, when 12,000 Indians were forced to move to Oklahoma in a march known as The Trail of Tears. Novelist Ehle (The Winter People, 1982; Last One Home, 1984; etc.) grew up in North Carolina on what was once Cherokee land, and the bond he feels with the area's past informs his work with passion--if not seamless coherence. That passion drove Ehle to amass an astounding amount of primary material--letters, documents, folklore, etc.--and to wield it with sociological assessments and odd bits of fictionalization into this account. Nonetheless, there's an unfinished feel here: most striking is Ehle's failure to provide an overview of the Cherokee nation before the whites' arrival--the first significant character introduced is Ridge, a Cherokee with Scottish blood. Moreover, further characters and incidents are often mentioned with no explanation, a problem sometimes remedied in later pages and sometimes not. Even so, though, the gallery of little-known, historical figures--mixed bloods who tried to improve the Cherokee fate: the noble Major Ridge, the brilliant Elias Boudinet, the hardheaded John Ross; Sequoyah, the first to create a written Indian language--glows, and some rarities (e.g., the letters of a young US soldier assigned to the removal of the Indians) impart a poignant intimacy. Although Ehle never quite weaves a tight tapestry from his multithreaded skein of raw information, his is certainly the most thorough Cherokee history to date--and it makes up in emotional impact what it lacks in narrative rigor." -- Kirkus Reviews, VNU Business Media, Inc.[4]

"In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the author of the highly acclaimed The Winter People tells the moving, searing story of the betrayal and brutal dispossession of the Cherokee Nation. "(A) beautifully written and emotionally mature book . . . a must."--New York Newsday.[5]

"This is a gripping account of one of the most unpleasant episodes in our history after slavery and Japanese internment--that of the Trail of Tears. The irony of moving this tribe is that the Cherokees were the most sophisticated and 'civilized' of the tribes that the whites encountered, as well as being monotheistic before missionaries arrived. They had incredible leadership, but it was very divided, as it is to this day in Cherokee factionalism. It is a result of the terrible event known as the Trail of Tears." --Anonymous Barnes & Noble Contributor[6]

Usage Tips

May be ordered through the nearest Family History Center. FHL film numbers: 6103971

May be purchased at and Barnes & Noble.

  • ISBN: 038523953X
  • ISBN-13: 9780385239530
  • Format: Hardcover, 432pp
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Pub. Date: October 1989
  • Edition Description: 1st ed


  2. Google Books review.
  4. Google Books review.
  6. Barnes & Noble
Link to the Cherokee Heritage Project Page