by Jimmy Cherokee Waters (Currahee Books trade paperback, 272 pages, $11.95)
The narrator's friendship with a fellow Vietnam War veteran (fictional), leads to their exploring their heritage in the area of Tugaloo Town (now Toccoa, not far south of Franklin) after his friend's son is killed in a 9/11 firefighting effort. The framework is short--a few pages at the beginning and end--with the bulk of the book being a series of dramatic accounts of should-be-famous Cherokee, settlers, and events (mostly battles). The unflinching nature of the telling (particularly one episode, involving revenge and torture) is noteworthy, even though it makes one wonder about the spirit search and ancestor worship. Most notable is the quality of the narration of the battles. For instance, the King's Mountain battle narration is the most comprehensible I've read. This is an important book--for the emergence of a talented writer; and for the representation of Cherokee glory and governance.