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THE AMERICAN INDIAN WARS by

THE AMERICAN INDIAN WARS

By

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1960
Publisher: Harper

An uneven and at times badly documented book tells of the long and bloody wars, covering nearly four centuries and the whole of this country, wars by which the whites drove out the Indians from their lands and homes. The authors end with a plea that the dispossessions and persecutions, which still continue, must be stopped. Unlike the somewhat similar Great Western Indian Fights (see review p. 845) this book treats of the wars as a whole, from the time of Massasoit to the massacre at Wounded Knee, a tale of atrocities on both sides, but with the Whites responsible for most of them. In its first two-thirds- the best part of the book- the authors tell of wars east of the Mississippi:- The Seven Years War, Pontiac's War, Jackson's war of extermination against the peace-loving Seminoles, etc. To a non-authority these accounts seem reasonably accurate. This can no longer be claimed, once the authors take their story across the Mississippi, where disagreements with the best established authorities, omissions which cause imbalance, and occasional errors of fact make one pause about endorsement of the authenticity of the book as a whole. One could list example after example, but this might only create an issue that could go on interminably, so varied are the interpretations put upon this area of our history. The Bibliographical Notes -- important in sustaining the authors' statements- would suggest that dependence on too few and sometimes questionable sources can only compound the errors. It is unfortunate that a book which contains much good material in a form that makes it readily accessible should be subject to this kind of criticism by seasoned historians.