The Wilderness War by Allan Eckert
The Wilderness War is the eagerly awaited fourth volume in Allan W. Eckert’s acclaimed series of narratives, The Winning of America, the violent and monumental description of the wresting of the North American continent from the Indians.
Two hundred fifty years had elapsed since the Five Nations, the greatest of the Indian tribes, ceased their continual warfare among themselves and banded together for mutual defense. Their union had created the feared and formidable Iroquois League; their empire stretched from Lake Champlain, across New York to Niagara Falls. Theirs was a remarkable form of representative government that presaged our own, and their wealth lay in the vast, beautiful lands abundant with crops. As warriors they were unsurpassedeven the depredations of the recent French and Indian War could not diminish their prowess.
But by 1770 the white men living in their land were fighting among themselves again, and war came once more to the Iroquois land.
The Wilderness War begins in 1763 (where the second book in this series, Wilderness Empire, concluded with the English victory over the French in the French and Indian War) and continues through the American Revolution to 1780, by which time the Iroquois League had been ruptured and the Indians dispossessed of their homelands.
Their defeat and humiliation occurred despite the valor of their famous war chief Thayendanegea, better known as Joseph Brant, who had allied his tribes with the one man the Iroquois loved and trusted, Sir William Johnson, Colonial Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and subsequently with Johnson’s son and nephew, leaders of the Tory forces in New York.
Based on an abundance of primary sources: original letters and notes, diaries and journals, deeds, wills, military records, Indian tribal records, logbooks, newspapers and magazines and government reports, and dominated by the compelling character of Chief Joseph Brant, The Wilderness War gives a factual account (sustained with the suspense and pace of first-rate fiction) of the last years of the Iroquois Empire and the first years of the American nation. Allan W. Eckert has molded the raw facts of history into a moving, perceptive and penetrating narrative. It is filled with the pathos and action, humanity and savagery which were all a part of survival on the expanding American frontier.