Friday, March 9, 2012

Reading Conquered into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battles along the Great Warpath that Made the American Way of War (9780743249904): Eliot A Cohen: Books, Eliot A. Cohen: The story of frontier warfare in 17th-19th Century America-- especially along the "Great Warpath", the Hudson River up to Lake George and Lake Champlain--and how the frontier warfare experience led to the "American Way Of War." For we Americans do, indeed, have a different way of making war than other peoples, even going on a century and a half after fighting the last Indian War. How much this influenced American Exceptionalism, or vice versa, I'm not prepared to opine at this time...

This is a period that has fascinated me as long as I can remember, because I think I realized--unconsciously, at first--that it did have such a large part in who we became.

Mr. Cohen sent a career working in the US Government in the State and Defense Departments, and sometimes he uses modern terminology or jargon that would have been unrecognizable to, say, Cotton Mather, Robert Rogers, or George Washington. But using modern terminology or concepts doesn't render the conclusions invalid, and, frankly, I think that, once the concepts were explained to them, our forefathers would have grasped the terms and concepts and made use of them.

Recommended for anyone with an interest in American military history, or American culture. 
Defiance, by Nechama Tec.  Apparently, the Jewish culture center in Seattle had an event last year about the Bielski Partisans, and one or members of the unit were there.  I was a little annoyed that I hadn't known, since Mrs. Drang's boss's mother in law was involved in setting it up, and certainly someone should have known... Sigh.  

Anyway, he Daniel Craig movie was based on this book, at least in part. The writing style can occasionally be off-putting, it might help to remember that the author is not a native speaker of English.
Up next:  White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery And Vengeance in Colonial America (9780306814730): Stephen Brumwell.  A factual re-telling of the St. Francis Raid by Rogers' Rangers, in retaliation for the massacre of the garrison of Ft. William Henry (as retold memorably, if not 100%  factually, in Last of the Mohicans.  The St. Francis Raid was also the subject of the first half of Kenneth Roberts' novel Northwest Passage, and the movie of the same name.)  (I notice that Firefox does not like the spelling "Mohicans."  Firefox is correct in this case:  The proper spelling is actually Mahicans.)
I heartily recommend that anyone who is interested in the general subject of frontier conflicts between Europeans/Americans and Native Americans  read Allan W. Eckert's Winning of America series, which fall into the odd genre of narrative history, i.e., they read like novels. Novels with copious foot/end notes, but novels.  I especially like when a later volume has a footnote that says something like "Contrary to what some young idiot named Eckert wrote 30 years ago..."

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