The Divided Ground : Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author ofWilliam Cooper's Towncomes a dramatic and illuminating portrait of white and Native American relations in the aftermath of the American Revolution. The Divided Groundtells the story of two friends, a Mohawk Indian and the son of a colonial clergyman, whose relationship helped redefine North America. As one served American expansion by promoting Indian dispossession and religious conversion, and the other struggled to defend and strengthen Indian territories, the two friends became bitter enemies. Their battle over control of the Indian borderland, that divided ground between the British Empire and the nascent United States, would come to define nationhood in North America. Taylor tells a fascinating story of the far-reaching effects of the American Revolution and the struggle of American Indians to preserve a land of their own.
The study of borderlands is hot; Pulitzer and Bancroft prize-winning historian Taylor (William Cooper's Town) offers a rich, sprawling history focusing on the Iroquois Six Nations of New York and Upper Canada during the era of the American Revolution. Taylor examines Indians' wise but unsuccessful attempts to hold onto their land as colonists encroached on it. One of Taylor's great insights is that historians have taken at face value what European settlers said about the "preemption rights" by which colonists and imperial governments claimed Indian territory. Taylor recovers Indians' reactions to those "rights." Many Indian leaders, recognizing that they couldn't reverse European settlement, tried to at least dictate how that settlement would unfold-they wished to lease, rather than sell, their land, and they hoped to pick their neighbors. Giving narrative shape to the depressing and potentially unwieldy saga is the tale of a 50-year relationship between Joseph Brant, a Mohawk who exploited his ability to shift "between European gentility and Indian culture" in an effort to preserve native land rights, and Samuel Kirkland, a pious Calvinist who was both an evangelist and government agent among the Indians. This complex history told by a master of the trade will repay close reading. 48 b&w illus., 4 maps. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 08, 2007
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