cover image

The Dust Rose Like Smoke

The Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux, Second Edition

James O. Gump

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 01/2016
Pages: 248
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9780803284531


In 1876 Lakota and Cheyenne warriors annihilated Custer's Seventh Cavalry at Little Bighorn. Three years later and half a world away, a British force was wiped out by Zulu warriors at Isandhlwana in South Africa. In both cases the total defeat of regular army troops by forces regarded as undisciplined barbarian tribesmen stunned an imperial nation. Although the similarities between the two frontier encounters have long been noted, James O. Gump's book The Dust Rose Like Smoke is the first to scrutinize them in a comparative context. "This study issues a challenge to American exceptionalism," he writes. Viewing both episodes as part of a global pattern of intensified conflict in the latter 1800s resulting from Western domination over a vast portion of the globe, Gump's comparative study persuasively traces the origins and aftermath of both episodes. He examines the complicated ways in which Lakota and Zulu leadership sought to protect indigenous interests while Western leadership calculated their subjugation to imperial authority.  The second edition includes a new preface from the author, revised and expanded chapters, and an interview with Leonard Little Finger (great-great-grandson of Ghost Dance leader Big Foot), whose story connects Wounded Knee and Nelson Mandela.


James O. Gump is a professor of history at the University of San Diego.


"An intriguing book which opens the doors for all manner of comparative studies, and thereby suggests that the process of interaction between indigenous peoples and imperial interlopers is much the same across the world. . . . an interesting and thought-provoking book."—Soldiers of the Queen

Praise for the first edition of The Dust Rose Like Smoke   "It would be difficult to exaggerate the value of this brief but pioneering book."—Ethnohistory   "[Gump's] opening chapters show a mastery of all the relevant historical literature. Indeed, they could be set for any undergraduate course in imperial history as textbook examples of how to build up a comparative framework of analysis."—Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History    "An excellent scholarly introduction to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history of the Sioux and the Zulus as well as a thoughtful analysis of United States and British expansion."—Journal of American History   "The first detailed, in-depth comparison of the closing of the American and South African frontiers. . . . Gump has performed a valuable service by showing that the events surrounding Little Big Horn and Isandhlwana were comparable incidents in a global narrative."—Journal of Social History   "Informative to both specialist and general readers."—American Historical Review