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Does it matter that Bird is not a professional, credentialed historian? Not really. He knows the difference between primary and secondary sources, and his citations open the door for additional research by interested parties of all backgrounds. In some ways, it may be a blessing that Bird is not a professional. His website manages to be both comprehensible and comprehensive, neither lost in the self-serving jargon of too many monographs nor myopic and overspecialized to the point of irrelevance. Bird communicates his message clearly and never loses sight of why it is important to the "bigger picture." In so doing he offers a welcome and edifying example to many in the field.
That said, his greatest accomplishment lies in what he has done, not how he did it. In Bird's own words, "Readers seeking a politically correct indictment of American history may be disappointed in Rebellion, but so will those who are uncomfortable learning the darker sides of the American tradition." He has told a thrilling and disturbing tale, forgotten for far too long, about people who were committed to seeking freedom and ultimately successful in finding it.
Amy H. Sturgis (amyhsturgis.com) teaches Native American studies at Belmont University and is a member of the Scholarly Board of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. Her newest book is The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal (Greenwood Press).