Dee Brown was an American novelist born on February 28, 1908 in Alberta, Louisiana. He was an avid reader as a child and the book History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark was particularly influential in developing his passion for history and literature. Authors such as Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner and Joseph Conrad were also strong inspirations. After graduating high school, Brown attended Arkansas State Teachers College and later enrolled at George Washington University for graduate school.
During his career as an author, Dee Brown was also a librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All of his works are either historical fiction or autobiographies, including Wave High the Banner, The Galvanized Yankees, and The Year of the Century: 1876. He published Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in 1970 as a way of criticizing the American government for its wrongful displacement of Native Americans. Brown addresses the lack of liability on the part of the United States and the resulting cultural genocide on an entire race of people.
Upon its publication, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee garnered positive reviews from critics and audiences alike and was an instant bestseller. TIME Magazine points out that “in the last decade or so, after almost a century of saloon art and horse operas that romanticized Indian fighters and white settlers, Americans have been developing a reasonably acute sense of the injustices and humiliations suffered by the Indians” and people like Dee Brown “attempt to balance the account.”
In 2007, Brown’s novel was adapted into a TV film by the same name starring Adam Beach and Aidan Quinn. It ultimately was nominated for 17 Emmy Awards and won six of them, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie. It was also nominated for Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.