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Betrayals: Fort William Henry and the Massacre Paperback – May 13, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0195084269 ISBN-10: 0195084268 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (May 13, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195084268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195084269
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] detailed and elegant history....Steele is an historian who takes great pains to discover, assemble, and present historical data; he is also a fine stylist. He writes in a straightforward way that captivates the reader by its deceptive simplicity."--The Canadian review of American Studies

"Extremely well documented from research on both sides of the Atlantic...Steele treats Europeans and American Indians fairly and is unafraid of presenting either side's warts and blemishes....This study, as with any good history, is multidimesional and thought provoking in its most positive sense. It is a superbly crafted, well-researched study of mid-eighteenth century North American military culture."--American Historical Review

"Until now no one has written a careful, full-length study of a military engagement from a multicultural perspective. Ian K. Steele's Betrayals attempts to clarify the circumstances that made alliances between Indians and Europeans fragile and unpredictable....In many ways, the author succeeds admirably in his aims....Valuable reading for anyone interested in intercultural alliances in warfare; Steele has broken new ground with this book."-American Indian Quarterly

"A model case study of meticulous research....This well-written microcosm study opens a wide window on the times and is less military than cultural history. So it can be highly recommended for a variety of experts, average readers, and students alike."--Canadian Journal of History

"An interesting reinterpretation of the events surrounding the fall of Fort William Henry. Steele's history of the fort provides an excellent case study of diplomacy and warfare on the northern colonial frontier."--William and Mary Quarterly

"An intriguing account of the intricacies of one relatively small episode which had a profound impact on both the outcome of the French-English war in North America and on the actions and attitudes of American generations later.... Short, detailed, and finely textured....Fascinating and well written....Well worth the read."--International History Review

"Definitive....In comprehensiveness, humanity, and sophistication, not other effort to deal with the french and Indian War compares with this brief, eloquent book. It deserves the widest possible readership."--Fred Anderson, Journal of American History

"Provides the most comprehensive discussion available in print of the warfare along the Lake Champlain-Lake George waterway. Highly recommended for a broad spectrum of readers."--Choice

"A thoughtful, thoroughly rsearched and very well written book which deserves a wide readership."--Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research

"Betrayals is a compelling narrative of special interest to readers of early Canadian, American, military, and Amer-Indian history."--Loyalist Gazette

About the Author


Ian K. Steelei is Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario. He has written widely on early North American history and his books include Politics of Colonial Policy and the award-winning The English Atlantic, 16751740: An Exploration of Communication and Community, both published by Oxford.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
Those familiar with James Fenimore Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans" can now read the true tale of what exactly happened on August 9, 1757, when Fort William Henry, commanded by British Lt. Colonel George Monro, formally surrendered to a beseiging army of French regulars, colonial troops, and their Indian allies. The resulting "massacre" is discussed using sources and eyewitness accounts from both sides involved. By careful analyses of details, Steele is able to estimate how many were probably killed in this incident. Steele also views the massacre within the broader aspects of Indian-European relationships and attitudes toward war, captives, and honor. The book is complemented by an appendix of missing New England troops as well as a wealth of notes. Much new light is shed upon this controvercial and troubling incident of the French and Indian War. -James J. Mitchel
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Sherman Peabody on December 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
The title of this perceptive book tells the gist of Professor Steele's investigation into the seige and subsequent murder or kidnapping of prisoners after the British garrison surrendered to Montcalm in 1757. In essence, the English prisoners were betrayed by the French by letting their Indian allies seek scalps, prisoners and plunder after being given parole to march to a British force on the Hudson. On a larger scale, the French betrayed the Indians by not allowing them to take what Indians assumed were rightfully theirs as a part of 18th century warfare: prisoners to replace tribal members killed in combat, plunder of European materials, and scalps. Steele asserts that the losses suffered by the British garrison were smaller than previously claimed (including a number of men who were forced to travel home with Indians from the Great Lakes)and that the incident was not the bloodbath of popular legend. The men taken to the Lakes kept turning up for years afterward. Many of the scalps taken were from the corpses in the fort's cemetery-the Indians who took these scalps therefore brought smallpox back home with them and might have inadvertently destroyed whole tribes. Steele tries to count the men killed during the "massacre" and I think he is successful in his enumeration. He does not overlook the wounded who were murdered in their beds, the man boiled and eaten by his captors, and the soldiers knocked out of line and killed because they resisted being plundered. I agree that Montcalm was not complicit in directing the massacre, but set up the conditions that caused it to happen.
The Massacre lives on in popular imagination, but so does the Boston Massacre, certainly one of the most non-massacres in American history.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ronald T. McCoy on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Steele presents the reader with a masterful treatment of the events surrounding the "massacre" so familiar to viewers of the latest cinematic incarnation of Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans." As a teacher, I can tell you it's a bit of a surprise for students to find out that Colonel Munro survived Magua's knife. Steele puts the events in historical and cultural context. A fine piece of work, one which should be of interest to a broader audience than the book will probably get.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael N. Ryan on May 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the Liberal revisionist description of this book I found it to be an honest scholarly investigation into this event in history which has become one of the darker legends of colonial American history. Clearly not the work of some Amerindian apologist bent on denying or trivializing what happened, this book tries to provide the reader with an honest and unbiased source of what happened. Provides a good source of background on the war and the treatment of captives, including the French Colonial slave trade of American captives. The author makes a sincere effort to determine what actually happened.

A good book for those interested in this period.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Marcelain on January 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although this was a good book in itself, it covered too much of the French and Indian War to just have a title of Fort William Henry and the "Massacre". The book was interesting up to the point of the siege and massacre then it became very vague. It lacked details to the point of disappointment. It did not say what specific Indian tribes did most of the massacre, nor did it have a thorough account of actually what was happening! It told about some injured being killed in the fort , then it jumped to militia killed on the road to Ft Edward, then to the English officers dining with the French officers and chasing away Indians from their personal effects. In addition the author downplayed the massacre! Every time the word was used it was in quotation marks,making it seem the massacre was overplayed. But if 10 people are massacred instead of 200 does that make a difference? The book did inform the reader about the Canadien slave trade which was going on between them and some tribes, which other books clearly never bring up. Many English suffered because of it. It also made it clear that because of the French's terms at Ft. William Henry, many Indians then refused to help the French in the future. Sealing their fate in the French and Indian War.
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