The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics Among the New England Indians

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9780801845543: The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics Among the New England Indians

The Indians of southern New England understood the military importance of technology long before their first meeting with a white man. Their crafts and modes of limited warfare were well suited for their environment and culture. But the arrival of Europeans, with advanced weapons and a ruthless concept of total war, soon changed the Indian way of life and raised the costs of armed conflict. This book looks at combat in the 17th century and shows how Indians honed their skills, creatively adapting European military technology to fit their own needs. The Native Americans' proficiency in forest warfare, coupled with their rapid acquisition and mastery of firearms, took the colonists by surprise. Indians not only showed superior marksmanship and tactics, but also learned to repair muskets, make gunflints and cast bullets. Trained from childhood to hunt with bows and to aim at individuals in combat, Indians took advantage of the flintlock's accuracy. Their response to the massed volleys of European military formations was deadly, accurate fire from well-concealed positions. During the brutal and destructive King Philip's War of 1675-77, Indians armed with flintlocks, fire arrows and steel-edged hatchets proved to be fearsome adversaries, adept in the use of stealth, surprise and mobility. This "skulking way of war" shook the confidence of the colonists and forced them to adopt new tactics for forest warfare - tactics that would be refined and developed in later colonial wars as well as in the American Revolution.

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Review:

""Brilliantly combine[s] technical expertise and historical research... Lavishly illustrated. Malone presents overwhelming evidence of the skills New England Indians brought to the acquisition of European military technology, despite the efforts of both the home and colonial governments to prevent such technology transfer." -- Technology and Culture



"A thorough, clear, and provocative work of scholarship that deserves the attention of anyone interested in the intersection of technology, culture, and warfare in early America." -- Journal of American History

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Patrick M. Malone
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press (1993)
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Malone, Patrick M.
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