Much research and erudition underlie a sad tale of fidelity betrayed.

FORGOTTEN ALLIES

THE ONEIDA INDIANS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Two scholars seamlessly combine forces to tell a little-known but important and ultimately shameful story from an unlit corner of the colonies’ battle for independence.

Glatthaar (History/Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Partners in Command, 1993, etc.) and Martin (History/Univ. of Houston; Benedict Arnold, 1997, etc.) begin and end with the elderly Marquis de Lafayette’s triumphal 1824 tour of the United States. In Utica, N.Y., he wondered aloud why none of his former Oneida allies had been invited to meet with him; a few hundred pages later, we learn what happened. Following an enlightening chapter on Oneida history, culture and cosmogony, the authors offer a straightforward narrative of the tribe’s earliest collisions with European immigrants, the French and Indian War, the colonists’ growing unhappiness with the British and the Oneidas’ reluctant involvement. Unable to convince their Iroquois allies to remain neutral during the Revolution, the Oneidas sided with the rebels and contributed significantly to the revolutionary cause. The text moves with great ease through some very complex issues: the Oneidas’ delicate political relations with the other tribes in the Six Nations (most of whom supported the British), the nature of frontier warfare (Indian warriors were often impatient with European/American martial strategies), internal politics (Oneida sachems held great sway, but warriors remained free to make their own decisions) and the Oneidas’ struggles to maintain their homes as war raged. Despite the great regard and gratitude that the Oneidas earned from the likes of George Washington and Lafayette, the Indians soon fell victim to encroachment and deception. By the early 20th century, the authors note, Oneida territory had shrunk from six million acres to 32, a disgraceful but predictable dénouement to the tribe’s heroic assist during the war for independence. A brief afterword explains how the Oneidas’ prospects have recently improved.

Much research and erudition underlie a sad tale of fidelity betrayed.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-8090-4601-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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