THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR by Colonel Red Reeder

THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Col. Reeder is little concerned with the European repercussions of the War, the respective territorial claims and lifestyles of the French and English colonists or with social history in general -- such as how warfare was conducted with flintlocks, the distinctive weapon of the period. His strong point is the tracing of individual campaigns, and he does shed some light on personalities -- defending the much vilified Braddock and casting doubt on the romantic notion that Wolfe recited lines from Gray's ""Elegy"" before going to his death on the Plains of Abraham. However, Reeder's characterization of the Indians as wild, wily savages who specialized in ""fiendish"" torture, sometimes boiled and ate their captives and served as treacherously unreliable mercenaries for both sides is blatantly insensitive. Unfortunately it is not out of line with the portrayal of Indians in the contemporary sources and many standard histories nor is it completely untrue (historian Edward Hamilton described the ""Indian of the mid-1700's"" as ""Corrupted. . . by the liquor of the white man and by those blandishments which encouraged him to raid and butcher. . .""). But Reeder has made insufficient attempts to explain these mitigating factors (such as the degree to which scalping was encouraged by bounties), and continually plays on the Indians ""wildness"" for dramatic effect. Hamilton's own The French and Indians Wars, 1962 (cited in Reeder's bibliography as ""an excellent account"") avoids these excesses, and is in fact so excellent that good readers should be steered in its direction; for those less adept, American Heritage's well illustrated volume of the same title (also 1962) is still the preferred source.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Nelson