The violent events that took place near what is now Walla Walla on November 29, 1847 served for at least a century as a creation myth for the state of Washington, a legend of heroic sacrifice to noble ideals. But the traditional story of the Whitman Mission and the attack on its occupants is just that, a myth. The reality, a much more complex account of misplaced ambition and cultural conflict, gets a thorough, long overdue examination in historian Cassandra Tate’s compelling new book, Unsettled Ground. It’s necessary reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the American frontier experience.
—James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA