The Great Father was widely praised when it appeared in two volumes in 1984 and was awarded the Ray Allen Billington Prize by the Organization of American Historians. This abridged one-volume edition follows the structure of the two-volume edition, eliminating only the footnotes and some of the detail. It is a comprehensive history of the relations between the U.S. government and the Indians. Covering the two centuries from the Revolutionary War to 1980, the book traces the development of American Indian policy and the growth of the bureaucracy created to implement that policy.
Francis Paul Prucha, S.J., a leading authority on American Indian policy and the author of more than a dozen other books, is an emeritus professor of history at Marquette University.
"This is Francis Paul Prucha’s magnum opus. It is a great work. . . . This study will . . . [be] a standard by which other studies of American Indian affairs will be judged. American Indian history needed this book, has long awaited it, and rejoices at its publication."—American Indian Culture and Research Journal
"The author’s detailed analysis of two centuries of federal policy makes The Great Father indispensable reading for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of American Indian policy."—Journal of American History
"Written in an engaging fashion, encompassing an extraordinary range of material, devoting attention to themes as well as to chronological narration, and presenting a wealth of bibliographical information, it is an essential text for all students and scholars of American Indian history and anthropology."—Oregon Historical Quarterly
"A monumental endeavor, rigorously researched and carefully written. . . . It will remain for decades as an indispensable reference tool and a compendium of knowledge pertaining to United States–Indian relations."—Western Historical Quarterly
"Perhaps the crowning achievement of Prucha’s scholarly career."—Vine Deloria Jr., America
"For many years to come, The Great Father will be the point of departure for all those embarking on research projects in the history of government Indian policy."—William T. Hagan, New Mexico Historical Review
"The appearance of this massive history of federal Indian policy is a triumph of historical research and scholarly publication."—Lawrence C. Kelly, Montana
"This is the most important history ever published about the formulation of federal Indian policies in the United States."—Herbert T. Hoover, Minnesota History
"This truly is the definitive work on the subject."—Ronald Rayman, Library Journal