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The Smoke: Tales From a Revolution - New-York Paperback – Illustrated, December 26, 2013
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- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Paperback : 209 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0989441040
- ISBN-13 : 978-0989441049
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.53 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Brief Candle Press; Illustrated edition (December 26, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #685,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Of the three books I have read in this series, this by far is his best. He has really come into form as a masterful storyteller in the same vein as Cooper. His love for history really shines through again.
It's a wonderful story filled with lots of action and drama and a window on America's past.
War Remains, A Korean War Novel
This is the third book in the Tales from a Revolution series. Each book is a standalone book with no cliffhanger ending. The series can be read in any order. Each book focuses on a specific state, a few characters, and the effect of the American Revolutionary War. I have read other books in this series [in no particular order] and would recommend them.
This book is a fictionalized account of the effects of The American Revolutionary War on the Iroquois Confederacy (an alliance of five Indian nations), and more specifically, the Tuscarora tribe within that alliance in New York who were trying to stay neutral but initially allied themselves with the British and then with the Patriots. I was particularly captivated by this tale as I grew up in upstate New York and while I do remember touching upon the Iroquois in my high school history class, we certainly did not spend a lot of time on the topic. I found the exploration of the Iroquois culture and their politics to be fascinating. The integration of Joseph, a Patriot soldier, into the tribe was interesting, however, a bit fast-paced, in my opinion, to be completely credible. For example, Joseph very quickly adapts to the Indian culture - to the point of dreaming in the Iroquois language and having trouble remembering the English language in a few short months. Additionally, without a lot of thought [decided in mere moments], Joseph submits to tattooing his face - which would clearly ostracize him from his own culture and certainly cause a rift with his family/friends. However, overall, I found this story to be well-written and well-researched.
The narrator, Shamaan Casey, is the narrator for the entire series. He has a deep baritone pleasant voice. He does a great job with the various characters and emotions of this story
Again with the calling this series as for children just because there is no erotica! Really!
These tales are for all of us, not just those of us who spent our summers reenacting the war between the upstarts and the oppressors (aka the rebels and the Redcoats). It is important to remember that the war involved many who never heard of the Boston Tea Party or Francis Marion or even Bloody Tarleton. The many clans and tribes of those who were in North America long before the European invaders were caught up in the war and lost as much as the Europeans gained. Well researched, well presented, and realistic. But I'm glad that I have the audio (and not just because Shamaan Casey has a marvelous voice and interpretation) because I wouldn't be able to pronounce the names.
I won this audiobook in a giveaway! I really win!
In _The Smoke_ Hedbor brings us to New York, where love, loss, struggle and occasional victory also play their roles, introducing readers to the indigenous Tuscarora, members of the larger Iroquois Confederation. Caught between their tribal loyalties and war between the Colonial and British armies, various bands and tribes ally themselves with the Americans. Having been forsaken by their British allies, who made promises in exchange for attacks on colonial homesteads, they split from their confederation as those who stayed loyal to the Redcoats ultimately relocated to Ontario, with the rest remaining in what was to be United States territory.
As the battles rage on, two Tuscarora tribal members observe colonial scouts, whose presence in the forest the Natives can easily detect, while they remain hidden from Washington’s soldiers. Early on Hedbor sets up a thrilling continuity via alternating viewpoints portraying to readers events from each group’s point of view in something akin to real time. Very quickly readers realize that while the Americans discuss their plans and try to conceal signs of their camp, the Tuscarora—one of whom understands English—are listening. An anxious moment comes when discovery is threatened, but the alternating viewpoint keeps the tension hovering while maintaining clarity within point of view.
This alternating viewpoint continues through the novel as we follow the colonials as well as Natives, particularly Joseph and Ginawo, both of whom are counseled by their respective leaders as to the nature of their perceived enemy.
“Are they so difficult to spot in these woods?”
“They are like smoke, Joseph, and they have lived in these woods for many hundreds of years, at the least, so they have learned all the ways of keeping out of sight and covering their tracks. Those who dismiss them as primitive men or mere savages do so at their peril.”
This passage hints at the title’s deeper significance, referencing not only the resulting smoke from villages burned in retaliation for attacks, but also the Natives themselves, so often able to hover within the forest like smoke, though impossible to capture with one’s hands. This, however, does not guarantee victory for the tribes, for the Americans also have their techniques, not entirely understood by their adversaries.
“[The elders] believe that the best way to ensure that our people can find peace is to understand these pale men …in order to learn how we can make peaceful terms with the Colonials.”
Overall the Natives and Americans maintain an uneasy alliance, one group caught up in a war that is not theirs and attempting to figure out which is the better side to support, the other understanding that the land they occupy is too big for the British, whose people back home will ultimately tire of the fighting. The Natives instinctively recognize this, and worry what will become of their own people and settlements. The Algonquin wars with the French, in the elders’ youth, had destroyed a key Native tactical advantage. King Philip’s War, an earlier conflict in the region now known as New England, had also resulted in the unraveling of a larger Native alliance and birth of a distinct American identity separate from subjects of the king. Certainly aware of these and other events, the Tuscarora know the colonials are here to stay.
Hedbor uses his linguistic experience to effect some of this uncertainty, crafting Native dialogue smoothly when they are meant to be speaking in their own language, with rougher edges to indicate English. However, he does more than employ mere grammatical errors, instead stripping away English conventions, such as tense, and reordering it within the structure of the Tuscaroran language. The outcome is a greater sense of tension between colonial and Native when they are exposed to one another, and a more at-ease sensation when Ginawo, Tanarou or others speak amongst themselves. In this manner Hedbor’s transitions into scenes of Native life occur organically and it becomes much easier to grasp similarities and not only differences. There are memories of attraction of male to female, small children laughing at the way Joseph speaks, words of grief, pleas for longer sleep and poking fun at each other with words like “turkey.”
While Hedbor presents his audience with a need to re-examine these Revolutionary events equipped with greater understanding of Native suffering, he wisely refrains from lecturing readers, while still engaging our rapt attention. First, he openly and honestly references retaliation for violence perpetrated against innocent colonials, but also maps out dissenting views within Native politics. The consequences of these, paired with Joseph’s own experience of living his American identity and exposure to indigenous culture causes him to question much that he knows, and Hedbor guides him—and us—through his new experiences within authentic scenes that contribute to his growth—and ours.
One of my favorite elements of these scenes and Hedbor’s attention to detail is that in which medical attendance—“physicking”—is described in rich prose strokes easily creating images that come alive within the narrative. Hedbor also breaks free of the confines wherein the Native perspective is given the historical “Other” treatment, or else they are portrayed as perpetual victims. While this era in history was certainly not good to them and they suffered many wrongs, they make missteps of their own while simultaneously being strong people who gallantly stand to defend what they see as theirs. Hedbor allows his Native characters greater reign to define who they are themselves, and they turn out to be every bit as complicated and complex personalities as anyone else.
As historical fiction, _The Smoke_ is top notch, and naturally overlaps into an attraction for those interested in the Revolution, or Native Americans, even British, French or Canadian history. It is a worthy and outstanding addition to this author’s growing collection of Revolutionary stories told from unique perspectives, and serves as a portend of even better yet to come. This seems to be part of the “verdict” after each Hedbor read, as it becomes more and more difficult to decide which one we like best.