Cover image for Sitting Bull and his world
Sitting Bull and his world
Marrin, Albert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
246 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Discusses the life of the Hunkpapa chief who is remembered for his defeat of General Custer at Little Big Horn.
General Note:
At head of title: Tatan'ka Iyota'ke.
Reading Level:
890 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.8 13.0 39883.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.5 16 Quiz: 22134 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.D1 S6124 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Richly researched, told with sweep, speed, and balance, here is a biography of the man who was arguably the Plains Indians' most revered, most visionary leader. Tatan'ka Iyota'ke--Sitting Bull--was the great Hunkpapa Lakota chief who helped defeat Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. But more than that, he was a profound holy man and seer, an astute judge of men, a singer and speaker for his people's ways. In the face of the army, the railroad, the discovery of gold, and the decimation of the buffalo, he led his band to Canada rather than "come in" to the white man's reservation. To render Sitting Bull in context, the author explores the differences in white and Indian cultures in the nineteenth century and shows the forces at work--economic pressure, racism, technology, post-Civil War politics in Washington and in the army--that led to the creation of a continental nation at the expense of a whole people.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. Though demonized by whites after his defeat of George Armstrong Custer at the Little Big Horn, Lakota Sioux chief Sitting Bull was not a "monster" but a visonary leader. That's what historian Marrin demonstrates in this carefully researched, dramatic biography that helps readers understand Sitting Bull by first introducing his world. Marrin does an exceptionally good job of creating a full-length portrait--not only of a charismatic leader, warrior, seer, and holy man but also of the world he inhabited. By giving careful attention to culture, customs, spiritual beliefs, and physical trappings, he makes understandable an unfamiliar world that will seem strange to contemporary kids. His book also explores the tragic history of the Plains Indians, epitomized by the life of Sitting Bull, an appalling story of genocide and "ethnocide" --the eradication not only of a people but also of a culture, a heritage, and a way of life by a relentlessly expanding frontier. Ultimately, the life of Sitting Bull is also "the death of a dream." Photographs, maps, and drawings help expand the reader's understanding of a time and of a man who, according to his one-time adversary General Nelson Miles, "was the greatest Indian that has ever lived in this country." --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Through Marrin's (Terror of the Spanish Main) gripping and complex portrait of Sitting Bull (1831-1890), the author demonstrates the Lakota Sioux leader's importance in understanding American life today. As the prologue states: "Through his experiences we can gain a larger perspective on such continuing problems as racism, violence, and human rights." Marrin skillfully describes the customs, morals and spiritual beliefs that shaped Sitting Bull into a wise man with strong "medicine" or magical power and a courageous fighter for what he believed in; the author asserts, "Above all, he was a patriot who insisted that Native Americans must be free to choose their way of life." Rather than characterizing one side as evil and the other as good, Marrin laudably sketches the gray area that grew out of cultural differences between whites and Native Americans that seemed to make conflict inevitable (e.g., whites measured success by ownership and property while Native Americans believed that "people could not own the land any more than they could own the air they breathed, the rain that fell, or the sun's warming rays"). Readers will come away with a palpable sense of the injustice of America's Indian wars; Marrin's picture of Sitting Bull and thorough look at the West offer powerful insights into this painful episode in our nation's history. Ages 11-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-An exploration of the life and times of one of the best-known Native American leaders of the 1800s. Marrin is respectful of and sympathetic toward his subject, while presenting an evenhanded and sensitive view of the social, economic, political, and military forces at play in the "conquest of the Great Plains." His style here is similar to Russell Freedman's in The Life & Death of Crazy Horse (Holiday, 1996). A comprehensive work, the book covers Sitting Bull's brave accomplishments in his youth, his wisdom and influence as an adult, and his experiences later in life with Buffalo Bill, as well as his murder. Throughout, the author illuminates the culture of the Plains Indians with explanations and descriptions of spiritual beliefs, gender roles, and traditional chants and ceremonies. While this title is more readable than Elizabeth Schleichert's Sitting Bull (Enslow, 1997), it is also more challenging to get to the facts as the lengthy text contains so much background information and lacks a time line. However, the index is extensive, as are the chapter notes and bibliography. The volume is well illustrated with black-and-white photographs, reproductions, representations of drawings done by Sitting Bull for his pictorial autobiography, and helpful maps. This exceptionally well-documented work is an enjoyable read and a valuable resource that merits a place in all collections.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.