The Greatest "South Dakota" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown

    This book is a compelling historical narrative that chronicles the systematic decimation of Native American tribes in the United States during the late 19th century. The author uses council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions to provide a detailed account of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that led to the destruction of the Native American way of life. The book centers on significant events such as the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Wounded Knee Massacre, offering a voice to the often overlooked Native American perspective.

    The 604th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt

    "Black Elk Speaks" is a profound narrative that recounts the life of a Native American medicine man from the Oglala Lakota tribe. It provides a unique perspective on the Lakota people's history and culture, their spiritual beliefs, and the impact of westward expansion on their way of life. The book also delves into the protagonist's personal spiritual visions, which he believes have significant prophetic and healing powers. The narrative is a poignant exploration of the clash between cultures and the devastating effects of colonization on indigenous peoples.

    The 1686th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Giants in the Earth by Ole Edvart Rolvaag

    "Giants in the Earth" is a historical novel that chronicles the story of a Norwegian pioneer family's struggles with the land and the elements of the Dakota Territory as they try to make a new life in America. It is a profound and accurate depiction of the trials, tribulations, successes, and failures of pioneer life, emphasizing the harsh realities of adapting to a new environment. The novel explores themes of man versus nature, cultural displacement, and the pursuit of the American Dream.

    The 2010th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. American Indian Stories by Zitkala-Sa

    "American Indian Stories" is a collection of autobiographical essays, legends, and stories that delve into the life and culture of Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century. Through a blend of personal narrative and folklore, the book explores the author's experiences growing up on a Sioux reservation, her struggles with identity and assimilation during her education at a boarding school for Native Americans, and her later activism. The work poignantly addresses themes of cultural dislocation, the impact of colonialism, and the resilience of the Native American spirit, offering readers a unique and intimate glimpse into the complexities of indigenous life and the author's journey as a Native American woman navigating two worlds.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Windbreak by Linda M. Hasselstrom

    "Windbreak" is a reflective and poignant memoir that delves into the daily life and challenges of a woman managing a cattle ranch in the American West. Through a series of journal entries, the author provides an intimate glimpse into the rhythms of rural life, the connection to the land, and the resilience required to sustain both the environment and the spirit in the face of adversity. The narrative weaves together themes of solitude, the changing seasons, and the intricate balance between human activity and nature, offering readers a profound meditation on the complexities of agricultural life and the enduring strength of a woman's dedication to her land and livelihood.

    The 4854th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria

    The book is a work of historical fiction that delves into the life and culture of the Dakota Sioux in the 19th century. It follows the story of a young girl named Waterlily, who is born into a loving family and grows up learning the traditions and social expectations of her tribe. Through her experiences, including family ties, friendship, and marriage, the novel paints a rich picture of the kinship networks that form the backbone of Sioux society. The narrative provides a detailed portrayal of the ceremonies and customs that define the Sioux way of life, emphasizing the importance of community and the intricate social etiquette that sustains it. Through Waterlily's journey to adulthood, the book offers a poignant exploration of identity, belonging, and the resilience of human connections in the face of change.

    The 4969th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

    This book is a historical novel that chronicles the harrowing experiences of a young girl and her family as they endure a particularly brutal winter in the Dakota Territory during the late 19th century. Faced with relentless blizzards, extreme cold, and dwindling food supplies, the family must rely on their ingenuity, resilience, and the strength of their community to survive the seemingly endless challenges posed by the harsh environment. Through vivid storytelling, the narrative captures the spirit of determination and hope in the face of adversity, offering a poignant glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of pioneer life.

    The 5913th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

    This book is the eighth installment in a beloved series that chronicles the adolescence and early adulthood of a young woman growing up on the American frontier in the late 19th century. The narrative focuses on her experiences as a schoolteacher in a one-room schoolhouse, her evolving relationship with her future husband, and the challenges and joys of life on the prairie. As she navigates love, responsibility, and the transition into adulthood, the protagonist's resilience, independence, and spirit shine through, offering readers a glimpse into the hardships and rewards of pioneer life. Through her journey, the book explores themes of family, community, and the enduring power of love and determination.

    The 5935th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Custer Died For Your Sins by Vine DeLoria, Jr.

    "Custer Died For Your Sins" is a critical and insightful examination of the treatment of Native Americans by the United States government and society. The book, written by a Native American author, challenges the historical narrative and policies that have marginalized Indigenous peoples. It combines humor, scholarship, and activism to address issues such as broken treaties, cultural appropriation, and the civil rights struggles of Native Americans. The author advocates for a better understanding and respect for Native American rights, cultures, and sovereignty, urging a reevaluation of mainstream American history and a more equitable approach to Native American issues.

    The 5947th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Lame Deer by Richard Erodes, John Fire Lame Deer

    The book is a compelling autobiography and spiritual manifesto that provides a profound insight into the life and beliefs of a Lakota Sioux medicine man. Through a series of personal narratives, reflections, and visions, the text delves into the rich tapestry of Native American life, revealing the deep spiritual and cultural heritage that has long been suppressed by mainstream society. It explores themes of identity, resistance, and the sacred, offering a powerful critique of the destructive impacts of colonization and a passionate call for cultural preservation and healing.

    The 5947th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. 61 Hours by Lee Child

    In this gripping thriller, a retired military policeman turned drifter finds himself stranded in a small South Dakota town after a bus accident during a brutal winter storm. As the hours tick down, he becomes embroiled in a desperate defense of a key witness in a forthcoming drug trial, facing off against an enigmatic assassin and local corruption. With the clock ticking, he must use his skills and resourcefulness to protect the witness, navigate the icy conditions, and uncover the truth, all while a countdown to an unknown catastrophe looms, promising an explosive confrontation.

    The 8977th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

    This book presents a deeply researched biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the "Little House on the Prairie" series. It provides an in-depth look into Wilder's life and the historical context in which she lived, from the westward expansion to the Great Depression and beyond. The narrative explores the complex relationship between Wilder and her daughter, the hardships they faced, and the ways in which these experiences shaped Wilder's writing. It also delves into the myths and realities of American frontier life, challenging the often-romanticized view of pioneer life.

    The 9121st Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

    "Winter Counts" is a gripping and thought-provoking novel set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The story follows Virgil Wounded Horse, a local enforcer who takes justice into his own hands when the legal system fails his community. When his nephew becomes entangled in the dangerous world of drug trafficking, Virgil embarks on a mission to protect his family and seek retribution. Through its powerful narrative and exploration of Native American culture, the book sheds light on the complexities of modern-day reservation life and the struggle for justice in an unjust world.

    The 9263rd Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.