Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier: The Penguin Library of American Indian History by Timothy J. Shannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An informative history of the Iroquois's complex relationships with the British(later Americans) and French in the 17th and 18th centuries. At times, I got bogged down in names, dates, and some of the finer details (a function, for me, of listening rather than reading) but the general account was worth it. Granted some of this is limited by the available sources, but I would have liked more about the Iroquois and their relationship to their indigenous neighbors. Most of this history is about the diplomacy with the European powers.
The history here is fascinating and nuanced. The author balances things well; and anyone coming in with a view that the Europeans were simply and only just imperialistic, racist land grabbers or that the Iroquois were innocent noble savages that were exploited will be disabused of these notions. The Europeans were often that but not only or always that. Along with the cynical treaties merely meant to push the Iroquois off their land, there were sincere efforts at relationship building that were successful and long-lasting. And the Iroquois were far from innocent dupes being played and exploited. They were quite astute and played the French and British off each to great effect. And the Iroquois were sometimes intentionally party to the exploitation of other native nations by the Europeans. History is always a lot more complicated and lot more interesting than what we learned in school.
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