Event Profile

AFSA Book Notes: "Tecumseh and the Prophet"

April 22, 2021


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Please join us for a virtual Book Notes event with retired FSO Peter Cozzens, who will discuss his new book, Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation. The event will take place via Zoom at 12:00 pm EDT on Thursday April 22.

Until the Americans killed Tecumseh in 1813, he and his brother Tenskwatawa were the co-architects of the broadest pan-Indian confederation in United States history. In previous accounts of Tecumseh's life, Tenskwatawa has been dismissed as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But international award-winning historian and retired Foreign Service Officer Peter Cozzens now shows us that while Tecumseh was a brilliant diplomat and war leader--admired by the same white Americans he opposed--it was Tenskwatawa, called the "Shawnee Prophet," who created a vital doctrine of religious and cultural revitalization that unified the disparate tribes of the Old Northwest. Detailed research of Native American society and customs provides a window into a world often erased from history books and reveals how both men came to power in different but no less important ways.

Cozzens brings us to the forefront of the chaos and violence that characterized the young American Republic, when settlers spilled across the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the British in the War of Independence, disregarding their rightful Indian owners. Tecumseh and the Prophet presents the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat--the two most significant siblings in Native American history, who, Cozzens helps us understand, should be writ large in the annals of America.

Cozzens is also the author of the best-selling, award-winning The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, for which he recorded a digital AFSA Book Notes event. During his Foreign Service career, he received AFSA’s William R. Rivkin award for constructive dissent. He will be joined by a member of the AFSA Governing Board, who will moderate the conversation/interview.

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