Journalist to Present Yellow Thunder Book in DC


Stew Magnuson will read and discuss his new book, The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns at City Vista Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th St. NW, on Nov 10 at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Native American Rights Fund and is being held in celebration of National American Indian Heritage Month.

The nonfiction book recounts 130 years of history between two different communities, the Ogala Lakotas of Pine Ridge, South Dakota and the white settler border towns of Sheridan County, Nebraska. The Nebraska Center for the Book Newsletter in a review by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor Emeritus Paul Olson, called the work “an invaluable account of the wars against our Native American citizens.”

Scott Zesch, author of the novel Alamo Heights and the narrative history The
Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, in a recent review said, “Part journalism and part history, this fine work of narrative nonfiction reads like a collection of related short stories, skillfully weaving together threads from the distant past, the recent past, and the present.”

Magnuson said since the work spans such a long period of time, the talk will appeal to a wide variety of readers. “It should appeal to everyone. From Western History buffs, to those interested in the tumultuous social upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s and contemporary issues like Whiteclay,” he says. Whiteclay is the controversial Nebraska border town where millions of cans per year are sold to residents of the reservation, where alcohol is prohibited.

It takes an in-depth look at the one of the seminal moments in the history of American Indian activism, the death of Raymond Yellow Thunder. On February 12, 1972, four white men abducted Yellow Thunder, stripped him from the waist down, and tossed him into the Gordon American Legion Hall during a USO dance. Eight days later, he was found dead in the back of a pickup truck in a used car lot. His death brought the American Indian Movement, and its charismatic leaders, Russell Means and Dennis Banks, to the area for the first time. The book provides the first, full account of Yellow Thunder’s death, the AIM march and occupation of Gordon’s city auditorium, and the sensational trial of the perpetrators in Alliance, Nebraska. Magnuson is the only journalist to have interviewed Les Hare, the ringleader of the crime.
Magnuson will sign copies afterwards.

The newly opened City Vista Busboys and Poets is the third location of the popular DC-area chain of bookstores and restaurants. For more information about City Vista Busboys and Poets, call (202) 789-2227. The author can be reached at or