Winner of the the 1998 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of the Phi Beta Kappa Society
King Philip's War, the excruciating racial war--colonists against Indians--that erupted in New England in 1675, was, in proportion to population, the bloodiest in American history. Some even argued that the massacres and outrages on both sides were too horrific to "deserve the name of a war."
It all began when Philip (called Metacom by his own people), the leader of the Wampanoag Indians, led attacks against English towns in the colony of Plymouth. The war spread quickly, pitting a loose confederation of southeastern Algonquians against a coalition of English colonists. While it raged, colonial armies pursued enemy Indians through the swamps and woods of New England, and Indians attacked English farms and towns from Narragansett Bay to the Connecticut River Valley. Both sides, in fact, had pursued the war seemingly without restraint, killing women and children, torturing captives, and mutilating the dead. The fighting ended after Philip was shot, quartered, and beheaded in August 1676.
The war's brutality compelled the colonists to defend themselves against accusations that they had become savages. But Jill Lepore makes clear that it was after the war--and because of it--that the boundaries between cultures, hitherto blurred, turned into rigid ones. King Philip's War became one of the most written-about wars in our history, and Lepore argues that the words strengthened and hardened feelings that, in turn, strengthened and hardened the enmity between Indians and Anglos. She shows how, as late as the nineteenth century, memories of the war were instrumental in justifying Indian removals--and how in our own century that same war has inspired Indian attempts to preserve "Indianness" as fiercely as the early settlers once struggled to preserve their Englishness.
Telling the story of what may have been the bitterest of American conflicts, and its reverberations over the centuries, Lepore has enabled us to see how the ways in which we remember past events are as important in their effect on our history as were the events themselves.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: The Name of War|
|Release Date: 09-23-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Name of War|
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The Name of War
They first cut one of his Fingers round in the Joynt, at the Trunck of his Hand, with a sharp Knife, and then brake it off, as Men used to do with a slaughtered Beast, before they uncase him; then they cut off another and another, till they had dismembered one Hand of all its Digits, the Blood sometimes spirting out in Streams a Yard from his Hand... yet did not the Sufferer ever relent, or shew any Signs of Anguish.... In this Frame he continued, till his Executioners had dealt with the Toes of his Feet, as they had done with the Fingers of his Hands; all the while making him Dance round the Circle, and Sing, till he had wearied both himself and them. At last they brake the Bones of his Legs, after which he was forced to sit down, which 'tis said he silently did, till they had knocked out his Brains.
July 1676. King Philip's War is almost over. Houses have been burned, children murdered, men beheaded. Hatred has accumulated. And here, it seems, is a typical account of a typical torture--the inexorable slowness of it, the mocking. The torturers are Mohegan Indians. "Making a great Circle, they placed him in the Middle, that all their Eyes might at the same Time, be pleased with the utmost Revenge upon him." The typical spectacle, the typical torments; we can almost see the writhing English colonist, surrounded by men he considers barbarians, suffering stoically. But our imagination, swelled by too many Saturdays spent watching Westerns, has carried us away. The man in the middle is not an English-man. The account itself might have tipped us off: "'Tis said " that the fingerless, toeless man...