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Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier (Penguin Library of American Indian History)by Timothy J Shannon
Synopses & Reviews
A vividly drawn portrait of the powerful Iroquois nation during colonial America
In the fourth title in The Penguin Library of American Indian History, Timothy J. Shannon tells the story of the most influential Native American confederacy of the colonial era. The Iroquois occupied a strategic region between Canada and New York and engaged in active trade and diplomacy with their colonial Dutch, French, and British neighbors. While they were famous as fierce warriors, it was actually their intercultural diplomacy that accounted for the span and endurance of their power in early America.
By carefully maintaining their neutrality in the Anglo-French imperial wars in North America, they were able to claim an unrivaled influence in colonial America at a time when other Indian nations experienced dispossession and dispersal. Europeans who wanted to remain in the good graces of the Iroquois had to learn the ceremonies and the use of sacred objects that their diplomacy entailed. Shanno‛s portrayal contradicts the notion of the“noble savage” showing just how politically savvyÂ—and at times treacherousÂ—the Iroquois Nation was in the face of colonialism.
"In this scholarly examination of Iroquois diplomacy through the 17th and 18th centuries, historian Shannon rejects the depiction of the Iroquois as 'noble savages' and 'fierce warriors' during the colonization of North America. Instead, he posits, 'They were flesh and blood participants in a scramble for dominion in North America, and diplomacy was their tool of choice.' By maintaining official neutrality during the colonial wars, the Iroquois became key interlocutors in the New World — their diplomatic language and rituals became the lingua franca of New World multicultural deal making. Shannon credits the Iroquois strategy of diplomacy and 'occasional subterfuge' with securing their survival as a political entity, pointing out, 'Other Indians might have fought bravely against the European invaders, but only the Iroquois created a confederacy that was capable of withstanding the juggernaut of colonialization for so long.' Shannon meticulously chronicles Iroquois political maneuvering, and although many readers will find the highly technical account tedious, true aficionados of Native American history will relish this serious and sympathetic account of the Iroquois' skilled, if ultimately doomed, diplomacy. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In the fourth title in The Penguin Library of American Indian History, Shannon tells the story of the most influential Native American confederacy of the colonial era: the Iroquois.
The newest addition to the Penguin Library of American Indian History explores the most influential Native American Confederacy
More than perhaps any other Native American group, the Iroquois found it to their advantage to interact with and adapt to white settlers. Despite being known as fierce warriors, the Iroquois were just as reliant on political prowess and sophisticated diplomacy to maintain their strategic position between New France and New York.
Colonial observers marveled at what Benjamin Franklin called their "method of doing business" as Europeans learned to use Iroquois ceremonies and objects to remain in their good graces. Though the Iroquois negotiated with the colonial governments, they refused to be pawns of European empires, and their savvy kept them in control of much of the Northeast until the American Revolution. Iroquois Diplomacy and the Early American Frontier is a must-read for anyone fascinated by Native American history or interested in a unique perspective on the dawn of American government.
About the Author
Timothy J. Shannon is an associate professor of history at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Indians and the Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire as well as numerous scholarly articles.
Table of Contents
Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier Prologue. Four Kings and a Queen
1. Peace in the Balance
2. Linking Arms
3. "The Method of Doing Business"
4. Paths and Chains
5. Partners in Empire
6. New Nations
Epilogue. John Norton's American Frontier
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