Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

Written by:
Hampton Sides
Narrated by:
Don Leslie

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2006
21 hours 0 minutes
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the author of Ghost Soldiers comes an eye-opening history of the American conquest of the West—'a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy' (The New York Times Book Review).

In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.

At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.
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Mark S.

I’ve been to the Kit Carson home in Taos, watched some episodes of the old TV series of the 50s, read some comic books, visited Bosce Redondo, and have read the accounts of the atrocities attributed to Carson. This book is an amazing account of Carson’s life showing us the good and the bad, allowing us to form our own opinions of this legendary historical western figure. I recommend it to all who are curious about this man and want to learn the truth. At 21 hours it is a fairly lengthy read, but it covers a lot of history and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator was absolutely excellent, always reading with expression and keeping the listener engaged.

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I already read/listened a lot of books on the subject of Native people of the West and the West itself. All were quite good, my all time favorite was Empire off the Summer Moon by Sam Gwynne. But not anymore, this book is pure gold. And even though I listened to it, I think that 21 hour is quite the effort, but it wasn’t at all, I could’ve gone double or even more. That’s how good it was to me and that how fantastic narrator was. Absolutely amazing!

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Mark Trevithick

What a phenomenal book about an even more phenomenal, bigger than life man! In my history reading I had read more than one account of Kit Carson being a brutish murderer of Indians. Though he killed plenty, getting to know the man, his understanding and thinking regarding the conflict between white settler, Mexicans, Apaches, and Navajo through this great book has given me a completely different perspective. Christopher "Kit" Carson was a loyal, honest, and legendary man. I would have loved to have spent time around his campfire.

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A. Longa

If you like to learn about actual old west legends then this book is for you. Kit Carson life is written out - the good and the bad. The author writes in a way that lets you form your own opinion of Kit Carson.

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Ryan C.

I thoroughly enjoyed this title. It was fascinating to hear about Kit Carson and all that accompanied this man's life. It also gave such great context to the struggle and disasters around US and Native American relations. the narrator did a wonderful job and I could easily keep on listening to this title the 20+ hrs of listening flew by! Great story and great narration!

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