Synopses & Reviews
In 1755, New England troops embarked on a "great and noble scheme" to expel 18,000 French-speaking Acadians ("the neutral French") from Nova Scotia, killing thousands, separating innumerable families, and driving many into forests where they waged a desperate guerrilla resistance. The right of neutrality; to live in peace from the imperial wars waged between France and England; had been one of the founding values of Acadia; its settlers traded and intermarried freely with native Mìkmaq Indians and English Protestants alike. But the Acadians' refusal to swear unconditional allegiance to the British Crown in the mid-eighteenth century gave New Englanders, who had long coveted Nova Scotia's fertile farmland, pretense enough to launch a campaign of ethnic cleansing on a massive scale.
"Faragher relates, in all its complex, searingly sad details, the story of how the hapless French Acadians were run out of their Nova Scotia homes a story known to most from Longfellow's Evangeline. Caught between French and British empires, these peaceful farming and fishing families, descendants of French settlers, struggled to maintain their neutrality and their birthright ways. But in 1755, British and colonial New England forces rounded them up and dispersed them by sea throughout North America. Families were broken up; hundreds died on their voyages; their towns were torched; and only small, scattered communities, like the Cajuns of Louisiana, survived into the modern era. 'The removal of the Acadians,' concludes Faragher (the Yale biographer of Daniel Boone), 'was the first episode of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing in American history.' More than that, the communities destroyed, some 150 years old, had lived peaceably and intermarried with the Mikmaq natives of the Canadian shores. A way of life that could have been a harbinger of our own era of diversity was destroyed. Unfortunately, the book overwhelms the reader with detail, as if Faragher wanted to set down every fact of Acadian history so it would never again be lost. Instead, it is readers who'll be lost in this gripping tale of a dishonorable affair in American history. B&w illus. Agent, Gerard McCauley. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
On 25 August 1755, the New York Gazette printed a dispatch from Nova Scotia: "We are now upon a great and noble Scheme of sending the neutral French out of this Province, who have always been our secret Enemies..." John Mack Faragher tells the story of the expulsion of 18,000 Acadians in gripping prose. Following specific families through the anguish of their removal, he brings to light a tragic chapter in the settlement of America.
Drawing on original primary research, Faragher follows specific Acadian families through the anguish of their removal and brings to light a tragic chapter in the settlement of America.
John Mack Faragher draws on original research to weave 150 years of history into a gripping narrative of both the civilization of Acadia and the British plot to destroy it.
About the Author
John Mack Faragher is the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of many books on American history, including a biography of Daniel Boone that received a Los Angeles Times Book Prize.