In this revised edition of his great work, Thurman Wilkins recounts the events that led to the Trail of Tears through the eyes of the illustrious Ridge family. At the same time, Wilkins reconsiders important questions raised by scholars of Cherokee history: Were Major Ridge and John Ridge paid off by the United States for their support of removal? If not, how did these Cherokee patriots come to change their minds about emigrating west? Was Chief John Ross a hero or a villain?
Since Cherokee Tragedy was first published in 1970, it has been valued as a penetrating social and political history of the Cherokee Nation from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the 1838 Trail of Tears and the subsequent execution of the Ridges in Indian Territory.