Oh What A Slaughter and Sacagawea’s Nickname

owas

Getting pretty close to having read all of Larry McMurtry’s nonfiction.  LMcM has a rambling, conversational way in these books, I enjoy it.  Here is some previous coverage about his book Hollywood, and his road trip book Roads, and the best one of all imo, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen.

Oh What A Slaughter is definitely worth a read.  A good quality of McMurtry and my all time favorite Evan S. Connell is that they really capture the weirdness of history.

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How about this, as McMurtry describes the buildup to the Wounded Knee massacre?:

ghost dance 1 ghost dance 2

Wovoka

Wovoka / Jack Wilson

How can you not like a book that has this in it?willie boy

Sacagawea’s Nickname wasn’t as compelling to me.

Saca

It collects essays McMurtry wrote for the New York Review Of Books: a couple about Lewis & Clark, one about the great one-armed explorer/surveyor/ethnographer/proto-environmentalist John Wesley Powell:

John_Wesley_Powell

But for title alone I was def gonna read it.  Like every American kid I was taught about Sacagawea in school, whose name we were told was pronounced “Sack-a Jew-ee-uh.”

Sacagawea_dollar_obverse

Imagine my shock years later when my friend Leila, who was schooled in Oregon and thus had some cred on the issue, told me her name was pronounced “Sack Ahj Way.”  Well, sure.  How could we know?  Both Lewis and Clark, Clark especially, were crazy spellers, so their clues are confusing.  From Wiki:

Clark used Sahkahgarwea, Sahcahgagwea, Sarcargahwea, and Sahcahgahweah, while Lewis used Sahcahgahwea, Sahcahgarweah, Sahcargarweah, and Sahcahgar Wea.

From McMurtry:

sar car

Anyway let me go ahead and give you a spoiler that Sar car Ja we a’s nickname was Janey.

 



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