A vivid account of the rivalry between future president William Henry Harrison and the Shawnee chief Tecumseh—and of the Native American alliance that fought westward expansion—from the New York Times bestselling author of Astoria
“Taut, multi-layered . . . a much-needed reevaluation of this crucial period of our nation’s history.”—Laurence Bergreen, author of Over the Edge of the World
The conquest of Indigenous land in the eastern United States through corrupt treaties and genocidal violence laid the groundwork for the conquest of the American West. In Gallop Toward the Sun, acclaimed author Peter Stark exposes the fundamental conflicts at play through the little-known but consequential struggle between two extraordinary leaders.
William Henry Harrison was born to a prominent Virginia family, the son of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He journeyed west, became governor of the vast Indiana Territory, and sought statehood by attracting settlers and imposing one-sided treaties.
Tecumseh, by all accounts one of the nineteenth century’s greatest leaders, belonged to an honored line of Shawnee warriors and chiefs. His father, killed while fighting the Virginians flooding into Kentucky, extracted a promise from his sons to “never give in” to the land-hungry Americans. An eloquent speaker, Tecumseh traveled from Minnesota to Florida and west to the Great Plains convincing far-flung tribes to join a great confederacy and face down their common enemy. Eager to stop U.S. expansion, the British backed Tecumseh’s confederacy in a series of battles during the forgotten western front of the War of 1812 that would determine control over the North American continent.
Tecumseh’s brave stand was likely the last chance to protect Indigenous people from U.S. expansion—and prevent the upstart United States from becoming a world power. In this fast-paced narrative—with its sharply drawn characters, high-stakes diplomacy, and bloody battles—Peter Stark brings this pivotal moment to life.
About the Author
Peter Stark is an adventure and exploration writer and historian. Born in Wisconsin, he studied English and anthropology at Dartmouth College and took a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. A longtime correspondent for Outside magazine, Stark has also been published in Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Men’s Journal. His book Astoria was a New York Times bestseller, received a PEN USA literary award nomination, and was adapted into an epic two-part play. His Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father was named a finalist for the 2019 George Washington Book Prize.
“Peter Stark takes us back to a crucial fork in the road of the frontier past, where the course of our national life might have turned out so differently. You can’t read this fresh and surprising work without thinking, ‘What if?’”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Blood and Thunder and In the Kingdom of Ice
“In Stark’s vivid and skillful and passionate telling, the story of the struggle between Tecumseh and future president William Henry Harrison carries the reader breathlessly along. If you don’t know about Tecumseh, you don’t know the first thing about the U.S.A. This is a terrific book.”—Ian Frazier, bestselling author of Great Plains
“As the title promises, Peter Stark’s taut, multi-layered narrative of the legendary Shawnee chief Tecumseh, William Henry Harrison, and the making of a very young United States of America pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. Gallop Toward the Sun offers a much-needed reevaluation of this crucial period of our nation’s history.”—Laurence Bergreen, author of Over the Edge of the World
“In this irresistible dual biography, Stark documents the violent confrontation between the United States and the Indigenous tribes in the wake of the American Revolution. And he does so with a profound grasp of both narrative storytelling and the major, violent themes of our nation’s life. You can’t understand America without understanding this book.”—Rinker Buck, bestselling author of The Oregon Trail and Life on the Mississippi
“[A] lively joint biography . . . Readers will come away with deeper admiration for Tecumseh—and disdain for his conniving foe.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Vivid biographical detail and astute analysis of how Harrison and Tecumseh’s competing visions for the future fueled the conflict make this is an informative chapter in the history of the American frontier.”—Publishers Weekly
“Stark is a master of bringing history to breathing, bleeding life. He animates a little-known era with powerful twin protagonists—Tecumseh and Harrison—each epic in his own way. . . . A great read.”—Michael Punke, bestselling author of The Revenant
“What a good read. . . . Tecumseh’s story deserves to be told often and well, and by coupling him with Harrison, Stark effectively presents this as a crucial collision in the making and meaning of America, warts and all.”—Colin G. Calloway, professor of History and Native American and Indigenous Studies at Dartmouth College and author of The Indian World of George Washington