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The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity


The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity Cover

ISBN13: 9780375702624
ISBN10: 0375702628
Condition: Standard
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Publisher Comments:

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Jill Lepore is Assistant Professor of History at Boston University.

From the Hardcover edition.

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manwith7talents, April 8, 2010 (view all comments by manwith7talents)
A fascinating study not just of King Phillip's War but war in general. Through a process of careful research and explication, Lepore shines a light on the effects of war on civilian populations, on property, and on civilization. She also studies the often arbitrary distinctions that are made between aggressors and victims, civilized people and savages, the victors and the defeated. She discusses the loss of innocence and illusion that comes from war, the transformation of landscapes, and in a crucial final chapter, the way that memories of war are transformed over centuries of cultural transmission. Fascinating and highly recommended.
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Product Details

Lepore, Jill
Vintage Books USA
New York
Great britain
United states
Indians of north america
Native American
United States - Colonial Period
Military - Other
King Philip's War, 1
United States Politics and government.
Great Britain Colonies America.
United States / Colonial Period(1600-1775)
US History-Colonial America
history;king philip s war;american history;new england;colonial;war;native americans;native american;indians;17th century;military history;non-fiction;us history;american indians;massachusetts;america;colonialism;colonial america
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.06x5.23x.73 in. .81 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » US History » Colonial America
History and Social Science » US History » General

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