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Paperback King Philip's War: Civil War in New England, 1675-1676 Book

ISBN: 1558492240

ISBN13: 9781558492240

King Philip's War: Civil War in New England, 1675-1676

(Part of the Native Americans of the Northeast Series)

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Book Overview

Sometimes described as "America's deadliest war," King Philip's War proved a critical turning point in the history of New England, leaving English colonists decisively in command of the region at the expense of native peoples. Although traditionally understood as an inevitable clash of cultures or as a classic example of conflict on the frontier between Indians and whites, in the view of James D. Drake it was neither. Instead, he argues, King Philip's...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Fabulous book, by my Professor!

I didn't read this book until I'd finished Prof. Drake's classes, but just like his class lectures, this book is great! I have rarely read a more "readable" war-related book. There are a number of references he made in his classes and credited them to some "source" or "author" on the subject, and I had no idea HE was the source and author! I hope there are more books to come.

Regional History With A Vengeance

I was born and raised in New York state, though now I reside in Rhode Island. Such being the case, on occasion I have thought to familiarize myself with the history of the state and of New England. I discovered the book,KING PHILIP'S WAR: CIVIL WAR IN NEW ENGLAND, 1675-1676, by James D. Drake. I read it because the issues raised in that war continue to bedevil Rhode Island. A brief resume of the war is that: In 1675, the Wampanoag Tribe under the leadership of King Philip, also known by his native name, Metacom, rebelled against the English colonies in Southeastern New England with whom they had various alliances, and against whom they had various grievances including the peremptory hanging of two Wampanoags. (The author is excellent on the causes of the war.) The Wampanoags were joined by some but not all other tribes in the region. After initial success in fighting the war, the rebels were defeated by the English settlers, and essentially eradicated. As part of that war, there occurred, in 1676, in the area now known as West Kingston, RI, a battle called the Great Swamp Fight,in which the Indians were defeated, and the war ended. The Great Swamp Fight is considered to be the first massacre of native peoples in America. The reason the war continues to be a factor in Rhode Island is that the remnants of the native tribes, melded into a single tribe now called the Narragansetts, have been attempting to get the right to build a casino under terms of the Indian Gaming Act passed by Congress in 1988. They have been frustrated in doing so by Rhode Island's leading politicians,---and hypocritically because gambling exists in other venues in Rhode Island, and is increasing. (The politicians pander to the moral sense of the people while advancing gambling in other guises. Further, prejudice is involved because the Narragansetts intermixed with the descendants of African slaves, though of course the politicians deny it.) The Narragansetts obviously are considered a threat, though there are hardly 3000 of them, as compared to about 1 million residents of the state! Further again, there continues to this day to be litigation about the Narragansetts attempting, a few years ago, to open a smoke shop where federal and state taxes were not collected on tobacco products. The Rhode Island State Troopers, under the Republican Governor Don Carcieri, forcibly closed the smoke shop, though now it is admitted that force was not needed but that legal warrants could have accomplished its closing until the issue of sovereignty could be decided. Further once more, it is impossible to get away from associations with that era. Indian names are part of every section of the state. The Wampanoag Trail is a major highway from Providence to the communities on the eastern part of Narragansett Bay. Nearby to where I live, there are the names of streets: Metacom, Pokanoket, Massasoit, and on and on. I live on Wamsetta Avenue. Finally, neither is it possible

An Important Contribution

This is a clearly written and thoughtful analysis of King Philip's War. While some may disagree with the author's characterization of the conflict as a "civil war," Drake effectively illuminates the important and complex connections that developed among the New England colonies and some Native American nations and how those connections helped to bring about the war.

Well-Written, Well-Argued and Balanced Treatment

James D. Drake's "King Philip's War" offers a tight, well-argued thesis that the King Philip War should be viewed more as a civil insurrection than a "settler-versus-Indian" conflict. It is not a chronological account of the war but rather a well-researched interpretation. For a detailed account of the war's events, the reader should see Douglas Leach's "Flintlock and Tomahawk" or Jill Lepore's "The Name of War." Indeed, for a full appreciation of Drake's arguments it is probably a good idea to have read beforehand one or the other of these excellent accounts.Drake examines the tensions among the various groups that figured in the war -- the bickering among the English colonies, the divided loyalties of the so-called praying Indians, the complex relationships among the Wampanoags, Narragansetts and other Algonquian tribes -- and argues that the war can best be explained as a conflict within single a society rather than a racial conflict between the Puritans and the natives. He frequently resorts to the molecular analogy of covalent bonding to explain how different groups can contribute to a definable whole (the molecule) while remaining in some fashion distinct (the atoms).Drake's work invites comparison with Russell Bourne's "The Red King's Rebellion," also an interpretive piece. Bourne examines how an amicable relationship between the Puritans and the Algonquians dating from the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 degenerated into an ugly armed conflict in the 1670s. While both Bourne and Drake take pains to examine the war from the perspectives of both the colonists and the Algonquians, Drake seems a little less prone to condemn the Puritans and more willing to view their treatment of the natives in the context of contemporary European attitudes toward war and rebellion."King Philip's War," a well-written, well-argued and balanced treatment of a complex subject, is both good scholarship and good reading.
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