James Welch Books In Order


  1. Winter in the Blood (1974)
  2. The Death of Jim Loney (1979)
  3. Fool’s Crow (1986)
  4. The Indian Lawyer (1990)
  5. The Heartsong of Charging Elk (2000)


Non fiction

  1. Killing Custer (1994)

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James Welch Books Overview

Winter in the Blood

Two contemporary classics from a major writer of the Native American renaissance During his life, James Welch came to be regarded as a master of American prose, and his first novel, Winter in the Blood, is one of his most enduring works. The narrator of this beautiful, often disquieting novel is a young Native American man living on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana. Sensitive and self destructive, he searches for something that will bind him to the lands of his ancestors but is haunted by personal tragedy, the dissolution of his once proud heritage, and Montana’s vast emptiness. Winter in the Blood is an evocative and unforgettable work of literature that will continue to move and inspire anyone who encounters it.

The Death of Jim Loney

James Welch never shied away from depicting the lives of Native Americans damned by destiny and temperament to the margins of society. The Death of Jim Loney is no exception. Jim Loney is a mixed blood, of white and Indian parentage. Estranged from both communities, he lives a solitary, brooding existence in a small Montana town. His nights are filled with disturbing dreams that haunt his waking hours. Rhea, his lover, cannot console him; Kate, his sister, cannot penetrate his world. In sparse, moving prose, Welch has crafted a riveting tale of disenfranchiseme*nt and self destruction.

Fool’s Crow

The 25th anniversary edition of ‘a novel that in the sweep and inevitability of its events…
is a major contribution to Native American literature.’ Wallace Stegner In the Two Medicine Territory of Montana, the Lone Eaters, a small band of Blackfeet Indians, are living their immemorial life. The men hunt and mount the occasional horse taking raid or war party against the enemy Crow. The women tan the hides, sew the beadwork, and raise the children. But the year is 1870, and the whites are moving into their land. Fools Crow, a young warrior and medicine man, has seen the future and knows that the newcomers will punish resistance with swift retribution. First published to broad acclaim in 1986, Fools Crow is James Welch’s stunningly evocative portrait of his people’s bygone way of life.

The Indian Lawyer

At once a romance, a gripping suspense thriller, and a psychological portrait…
. The Indian Lawyer is a triumph. San Francisco Chronicle Sylvester Yellow Calf is a former reservation basketball star, a promising young lawyer, and a possible congressional candidate. But when a parolee ensnares him in a blackmail scheme, he’ll have to decide just who he is, and what he wants.

The Heartsong of Charging Elk

Inspired by actual historical fact, James Welch’s tells the story of an Oglala Sioux who travels the extraordinary geographical and cultural distance from tribal life in the Black Hills of South Dakota to existence on the streets of Marseille. As a young boy, Charging Elk witnessed his people’s massacre of Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at Little Big Horn, followed by years of futile fighting and wandering until the Sioux were finally lured to the Pine Ridge reservation. But he prefers life in the Stronghold, living by his wits and skills in the old way. Ironically, it is Charging Elk’s horsemanship and independent air that cause Buffalo Bill to recruit him for his Wild West Show, which travels across ‘the big water’ to create a sensation in the capitals of Europe. Charging Elk and his Sioux companions are living a life touched by fame and marked by previously unthinkable experiences until he falls ill in Marseille and, through a bureaucratic mix up, is left behind in a hospital while the show travels on. Scared, disoriented, Charging Elk escapes only to fall into a series of events, including a love affair with a prostitute and a shocking murder, that will change his life utterly beyond his imagination. James Welch, one of our truly great Native American writers, has taken a fascinating premise and realized it with utter mastery. Reminiscent of Fools Crow, his classic novel of Indian life, The Heartsong of Charging Elk is a haunting epic of culture shock and colliding ways of life and thought, sure to be hailed by reviewers and readers alike.

Killing Custer

General George Custer’s ill fated attack on a huge encampment of Plains Indians on 25th June, 1876, has gone down as one of the most disastrouos defeats in American military history. Much less understood is how disastroous the encounter was for the ‘victors’, the Sioux and the Cheyenne under the leadership of Sitting Bull. Within 15 years no American Indians resided outside reservations and their ancient culture lay in ruins. This text recreates the events from the Indian perspective, relating the pride and desperation of a people systematically stripped of their treaty rights, hounded from their ancestral hunting grounds and herded into wretched reservations. Their final showdown with thousands of warriors against Custer’s small force was, therefore, not least a ‘last stand’, a final celebration of their waning power and freedom.

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