Drawing fire A Pawnee, artist, and Thunderbird in World War II

Brummett Echohawk

Book - 2018

"In 1940, at the age of seventeen, Pawnee Indian artist Brummett Echohawk (1922-2006) enlisted in the 45th Infantry Division--the "Thunderbirds"--Part of the Oklahoma Army National Guard in his home town of Pawnee, Oklahoma. General George Patton told the 45th that they were "one of the best if not the best division in the history of American arms." Drawing Fire, Echohawk's memoir of his military service, tells the epic true story of a young Pawnee artist serving in a unit composed largely of Native Americans during some of the most significant battles of the Second World War, including Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio. Woven into the tapestry of Drawing Fire are Pawnee legends, language, and American Indian humor, a...ll which offer a rare glimpse of the Native American experience in Europe during World War II. The book is supplemented by more than 40 combat sketches Echohawk made during the war. The foreword is by WWII veteran, Medal of Honor recipient, and Muscogee (Creek) Indian Lt. Col. Ernest Childers"--Provided by publisher.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 940.5481/Echohawk Checked In
Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas [2018]
Main Author
Brummett Echohawk (author)
Other Authors
Mark R. Ellenbarger (author), Ernest Childers (writer of foreword)
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
xvi, 231 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
  • List of Illustrations
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • 1. The Quill of the Thunderbird
  • 2. Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • 3. Van Gogh Countryside
  • 4. Father, Bless Our Soldiers
  • 5. The Second Day
  • 6. Counterattack Time
  • 7. The Katy Line
  • 8. Avalanche
  • 9. The Anzio Abscess
  • Postscript
  • Dramatis Personae
  • Glossary
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Bronze Star recipient Echohawk narrates key episodes of his time with the 45th U.S. Infantry Division ("the Rock of Anzio") in Sicily and Italy, with reproduced sketches and notes originating from the field. This honest and beautiful memoir begins with the division's botched landing in Anzio and focuses on days of close combat and frequent confusion familiar to so many GIs in the European theater. Echohawk's detailed drawings capturing the humanity, fear, and relentless bravery of his fellow division members on spare paper were noticed first by his superior officers, who assigned him to gather intelligence, and then by a visiting entertainer, who helped him get them published in international newspapers, leading to his postwar career as an artist. The division, nicknamed the Thunderbirds, included numerous members of various Native American tribes, who used traditional skills to track and hide; Echohawk movingly recalls the language and warrior traditions he and his fellow Native soldiers followed-and, in one episode, humorously recalls fake ones they invented to intimidate insolent German captives. This excellent and fascinating account is a unique contribution to the literature of WWII. Illus. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Echohawk (1922-2006), a Pawnee, served in the B Company of the 179th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division. The highly decorated division, known as the Thunderbirds, included more than 1,000 Native Americans from Oklahoma who were thrust into some of the bloodiest combat of World War II in Europe, including the battles of Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio during the Italian Campaign. For his service, Echohawk received numerous awards, most notably a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters. The U.S. Congress posthumously honored him with a Congressional Gold Medal. In this autobiography, coauthored by Ellenbarger (founder & director, Brummett Echohawk Project) and edited by historian Riley, Echohawk movingly narrates his experiences and those of his fellow Native soldiers, including details that contextualize their service. A gifted artist, Echohawk drew poignant sketches over the course of the war, which are interspersed throughout this book. VERDICT This monograph honors the heroic service of Native soldiers and patriots while also vividly conveying the horrors of war. Highly recommended for readers interested in the history of American Indians or World War II as well as combat art.-John R. Burch, Univ. of Tennessee at Martin © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.