According to Indian witnesses, however, he was murdered by three Wampanoag Indians who were confederates of Metacom, known to history as King Phillip. The three alleged murderers were hanged in June. Shortly thereafter, Wampanoags raided the settlement of Swansea, then Rehoboth and Taunton. The war that followed has carved itself a bloody niche in history as being one of the most brutal ever fought — on a per capita basis — in North America.
A dozen towns burned and one-tenth of military-age colonists were killed. Some mark the end of the war as occurring on August 12, , when King Philip was killed by an Indian fighting with the colonial forces of Benjamin Church. Others say the war did not end until December 29, , when the Seventh Cavalry killed around men, women, and children at Wounded Knee Creek, marking the symbolic end of the Indian Wars. Just keep looking.
The Name of War is not interested in a chronological account of events; it is not interested in the character or biographies of the men and women caught in the vortex; it is most certainly not a military history. To give you an example: Lepore does not narrate a single battle or raid, yet devotes an entire chapter to a now-forgotten stage play called Metamora; or, the Last of the Wampanoags , which premiered in and ended its run sometime in I say this not to warn you off a bad book, but to keep you from being disappointed by a good one.
The Name of War is a work of historiography. The concepts of memory and cultural identity that are explored here are often dense and hard to summarize.
This style of book is tricky, because it relies heavily on interpretations and generalizations that sometimes feels like a parody of academia. Bodies were defined in relationship to houses, but houses, too, were metaphorical bodies… Continuing this thought, Lepore talks about a man named Thomas Wakely, who refused to heed warnings about an impending raid, and died in his house.
Of him, Lepore concludes: If building a house on a piece of land makes that land your own, and if the land you own defines who you are, then losing that house becomes a very troubling prospect indeed. On the one hand, sure, that makes sense. On the other hand, this reeks of overthinking. Chances are, Thomas Wakely died because he underestimated the risk, not because he feared losing his true self. While I am not fully investing in what Lepore has to sell, The Name of War is insightful and interesting. King Philip, for instance, was quartered, and his head removed and displayed prominently in Plymouth for years and years and years.
Eventually, these men of God showed their mercy and allowed the child to be sold into bondage, which gives Lepore an opportunity to explore this underdiscussed aspect of American slavery. The Name of War does not try to stake out the moral high ground between the Indians and the colonists.
In other words, this is not simple Puritan-bashing. As Lepore demonstrates, there was cruelty enough to go around. Of course, when the last bullet was fired, and the last dwelling burned, only one side got to write about it. In a real sense, then, The Name of War is about how a group of people — soon to be a new nation — attempted to rationalize their deeds, and to find a way to live with the things they had done.
View all 6 comments. Aug 17, Amy rated it it was amazing. Truly fantastic.
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Lepore has mastered the art of history-telling; she tells the story as straight as it can be told from the historical record, and makes incisive connections to other historical events, eras, and emotional epochs. If history had been old like this when I was in school, many fewer kids would have hated it. Also, many fewer kids would have turned into unthinking, racist, 'Merica First! Nuance and empathy are important parts of understanding what has happened before so tha Truly fantastic. Nuance and empathy are important parts of understanding what has happened before so that we can understand what is happening now, and better shape what will happen in the future.
Excellent work. May 19, Ram rated it did not like it. Postmodern, literary techniques work sometimes to tell the stories of persons who cannot speak through the existing record. But, Lepore uses highly-suspect reasoning to tell a story of her own invention that is disrespectful to her subjects and will appeal only to those guilty, white readers who have a particular view of what "American identity" is.
This book is the antithesis of what postmodernism promised. View 1 comment. Jan 17, Ryan rated it really liked it. Thorough and intellectually ambitious.
This isn't really a history of King Philip's War ; if you're looking for a narrative of the conflict you'll be disappointed. It is rather a study of the way that the experience and memory of the war was constructed by the English colonists of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut during the war years and immediately following, how that construction contributed to the construction of early American identity, and how it was actively u Thorough and intellectually ambitious.
It is rather a study of the way that the experience and memory of the war was constructed by the English colonists of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut during the war years and immediately following, how that construction contributed to the construction of early American identity, and how it was actively used a century and a half after the war by the advocates and opponents of Indian removal west of the Mississippi.
Good and thought-provoking. Jan 07, Tim rated it it was ok.
Lepore's work here disappointed. She has obviously done substantial research, I just do not find her theoretical framework all that satisfying. Maybe I do not fancy books about "the worst fatal war in American history" that analyze language and memory and lack much human sympathy. A work that takes the "English" to task for not understanding the Wampanoag but seems fairly nonchalant in its lack of understanding and frankly stereotypical portrayal of the Puritan. Nov 02, Brian rated it it was ok Shelves: american-history-colonial.
This is not a history of the war and provides an example of how the colonists at the time interpreted various aspects of the war. From seizing of colonists to selling Indians into slavery the effects of the war were traced throughout the war period. The brutality of the war is captured through the narrative that she lays out but in the end you really have to be interested in the time period to get something out of it.
Like many things written about Indians there is a general feeling that the author must apologize for not being an Indian writing about Indians and that comes through in this book. In the end it is lackluster and boring with little for those looking for a history of the war. Jun 24, Sara rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history , colonial-history , early-modern-history.
The Name of War is a thematically-structured meditation on the violent and significant conflict known as King Philip's War, fought between English colonists and Native Americans in The fighting occurred primarily in New England between, on the one hand, English colonists of the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies, the Mohegan and Pequot tribes along with so-called "praying Indians" who had converted to Christianity, and on the other hand, the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Abenaki and Poc The Name of War is a thematically-structured meditation on the violent and significant conflict known as King Philip's War, fought between English colonists and Native Americans in The fighting occurred primarily in New England between, on the one hand, English colonists of the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies, the Mohegan and Pequot tribes along with so-called "praying Indians" who had converted to Christianity, and on the other hand, the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Abenaki and Pocumtuck tribes.
Lepore makes a persuasive case that this and the other narratives of the war reasserted English colonial identity as English at least as much as engaging in the war itself did. Decades of close proximity with the native inhabitants of what the English absurdly called New England had not resulted in mass native conversion to Christianity, as the colonists had hoped. It had instead, asserts Lepore, created hybrid populations of Indians who, for instance, spoke English and wore English clothes but lived in wigwams, and English people who lived farther and farther from English-built towns, no longer attended church or had culturally or familially absorbed or been absorbed by native people.
In other words, English colonists in the s were beginning to experience an identity crisis.
They could see breaking down the visual cues and behavioral codes they relied upon to differentiate people from each other; most importantly to them, to differentiate English from Indian. While carefully dissecting the English war writings, Lepore also examines — to the extent sources allow — Indian motivations for and responses to war; all the while considering what it means for both the English and Native American visions of the war that the historical record contains only English-language narratives written by white people.
The primary point of interest for me regarding this topic, is the particular position and vulnerability of the hybrid person in this context. Over and over again, Indians who knew English, acted as translators of language and culture, or had actually converted to Christianity, became the least trusted group of people, attacked by both sides equally. Anglicized Indians who were captured by the Narragansetts or Wampanoags were sometimes tortured and at the very least intimidated by their Indian captors.
Yet if they escaped and fled to an English town, they were put on trial for treason and usually only exculpated in the eyes of English colonists by murdering a certain number of combatant Native Americans and supplying proof in the form of severed heads. In a worst case, the English authorities forced entire towns of praying Indians into an internment camp on Deer Island in Boston Harbor, where most either died or were sold into slavery. More importantly, she reminds her readers about an under-discussed, over-obscure war that was, arguably, one of the most revealing and disturbing conflicts in the history of Anglo settlement in North America.
View 2 comments. Jul 04, Jeremy Perron rated it liked it. In my last post I described how a short while ago, I decided to do a straight reading up on the history of my country. Not by a series of biographies or of any particular event; but a simple march through the ages exploring all the eras of the United States of America. The first challenge is to find books that try their best to explore from multiple perspectives avoiding just one narrow view, without at the same time surrendering a general narrative that is both readable and enjoyable.
The secon In my last post I described how a short while ago, I decided to do a straight reading up on the history of my country.