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

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9780375702624: The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity

Winner of the Bancroft Prize

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."
    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. 
   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.

Winner of the the 1998 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of the Phi Beta Kappa Society

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In 1675, tensions between Native Americans and colonists residing in New England erupted into the brutal conflict that has come to be known as King Philip's War, named after Philip, the leader of the Wampanoag Indians. Jill Lepore's book is an evocative and insightful study of America's recollection and understanding of one of the bloodiest wars to take place on its soil.

Lepore, an assistant professor of history at Boston University, depicts the horrors of this conflict, from gruesome tortures to the massacre of women and children, so explicitly barbaric that the term "war" barely applies. An underlying theme of her narrative is that this unfortunate battle only served to strengthen the boundaries of cultural difference between the Native Americans and colonists, setting a rigid foundation for the many years of enmity between Indians and Anglos that would ensue.

Skillfully drawing on accounts of substance from participants on both sides, Lepore presents a balanced overview of the causes and effects of this conflict and the reverberations it would have over the centuries to follow, ultimately revealing that how a past event is interpreted is often just as important as the event itself.

From the Inside Flap:

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 inour 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.

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the Bancroft Prize 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. 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. 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. Winner of the the 1998 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780375702624

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