American Heritage History of the Indian Wars

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Columbus and his men were greeted in the New World by shy Arawaks who spoke of the Spaniards as "men from Heaven." The explorers sent by Raleigh to the land he named Virginia reported: "Wee found the people most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all guile, and treason..." The Pilgrims who landed from the Mayflower might have perished had not the Indian Squanto taught them how to plant, where to fish, and how otherwise to cope with their strange environment. And yet, conflicts between white man and red erupted almost immediately, increased in savagery, swept to every part of the continent the red man roamed and the white man coveted, and lasted for four hundred fearful, bloody years. What happened?

"The Indian Wars" answers that question more fully than it has ever been answered in a single volume. Here are the implacable foes, the devastation they wrought, the land for which they fought. Here are also the causes and effects of these wars -the misunderstandings or treacheries or accidents that triggered the violence, and the tragic aftermaths.

The first five chapters follow the tortuous course of Indian-white relations in the eastern part of the New World, from first encounters along the coast to the Cherokees' forced march from their lands in the Southeast to the end of the "trail of tears" west of the Mississippi. The Jamestown massacre... the Pequot War... King Philip's War... the French and Indian Wars... Pontiac's Rebellion... Lord Dunmore's War... the Indian's involvement with both sides during the revolution... Fallen Timbers... Tippecanoe... the War of 1812... the Seminole Wars... the Black Hawk War...

The second half of "The Indian Wars" deals with the wars of conquest and revenge and attrition in the West: Navajo warfare in the Southwest... wars with the Cheyennes and Comanches... the Minnesota massacre and the Sioux Wars... The Modoc War... the Nez Perce War... the Ute War... the Geronimo Wars...

The violent and tragic events are reviewed from both sides. The antagonists are presented as the three-dimensional, complex human beings they were. Background facts provide a new understanding of why these wars raged so long. And the end result is a stirring and thoroughly comprehensible account of one of the most misunderstood and poignant chapters in American History. 
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