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Great narrative history of English/American Indian War
on October 16, 2005
This is a straight forward narrative history of the Indian Wars on the North American continent from the time English colonists arrived in the New World until the final confrontation between the US Government and the Sioux at Wounded Knee in 1890. As can be seen throughout the book the conflicts were almost inevitable. The perspective presented by the authors is that, "...both Indians and whites were products of their time and place, responding to the values, attitudes, and beliefs of their time and place, not ours....If war resulted, it was the collision of two ways of life, not the malevolent determination of one to overcome and victimize the other." (p. vi) As the authors point out, in the end the European strategy the Indians couldn't overcome, and one the Europeans couldn't control, was the overwhelming movement of Europeans and Americans onto and throughout the continent. It was the sheer number of Europeans and Americans along with their villages, towns, mines, and farms that overwhelmed any Indian resistance and way of life.
What makes the book interesting is that it is a military history focused on the Indian Wars throughout the English history of North America; it therefore provides continuity throughout the centuries without being overshadowed by more conventional conflicts. Of interest in the early period is the impact of European wars on the relationships between whites and Indians in the east as the French and English allied with Indian tribes against their enemies. Lest anyone think the Europeans "used" the tribes in these wars it must be remembered that the tribes also used the Europeans to further their interests, in the end not caring about war or peace between the European rivals.
Unfortunately the book is not as comprehensive as it could be since its focus is on the English/American wars with the Indians. It doesn't address relationships between the Indians and the French, nor, more significantly, does it cover the wars between the Spanish and the Indians -- wars which were fought just as relentlessly and left an even more negative relationship between Mexicans and Indians.