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Native Memoirs from the War of 1812

Paperback
, 208 pages

17 b&w photos, 5 maps

ISBN:
9781421412191
December 2013
Subject:
History
$32.95

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Native Memoirs from the War of 1812

Black Hawk and William Apess

Table of Contents

Native peoples played major roles in the War of 1812 as allies of both the United States and Great Britain, but few wrote about their conflict experiences. Two famously wrote down their stories: Black Hawk, the British-allied chief of the still-independent Sauks from the upper Mississippi, and American soldier William Apess, a Christian convert from the Pequots who lived on a reservation in Connecticut. Carl Benn explores the wartime passages of their autobiographies, in which they detail their decisions to take up arms, their experiences in the fighting, their broader lives within the context of native-newcomer relations, and their views on such critical issues as aboriginal independence.

Scholars, students, and general readers interested in indigenous and military history in the early American republic will appreciate these important memoirs, along with Benn's helpful introductions and annotations.

Carl Benn is a professor of history at Ryerson University in Toronto. His books include Mohawks on the Nile: Natives among the Canadian Voyagers in Egypt, 1884–85, The War of 1812, and The Iroquois in the War of 1812.

"Benn’s editing of the autobiographies is expert, unobtrusive, and thorough. He clarifies the confusing chronology in the original texts and intervenes with spare but important commentary. The idea of putting Apess and Black Hawk together in one book is highly original and timely."

"Any collection strong in college-level analysis of this war and Native roles in American history will find this a powerful survey based on source references."

"At first glance these republished memoirs might seem unremarkable. The artful and compelling end product will shatter these doubts instantly."

"Benn uses his considerable skills as a historian to edit these remarkable reminiscences, adding clarity and context... Benn's study is a fascinating look at the diverse experiences of two native combatants, and as such is an important contribution to our understanding of the War of 1812."

" Native Memoirs from the War of 1812 ultimately provides a thought-provoking and rich exploration of both indigenous involvement in the war and the diverse realities of individual native people's lives in early nineteenth-century North America... Though of general interest to scholars of early America and Native North America, this volume also offers an outstanding opportunity for undergraduates to access indigenous voices in a text that places indigenous people at the center of history-making."

"Carl Benn has done an excellent job editing two well known aboriginal memoirs of the War of 1812, that of the Sauk chief, Black Hawk and that of William Apess, a member of the Pequot people. Benn has spent considerable effort to obtain the most accurate versions of these two memoirs and has annotated them in a very exemplary and scholarly fashion... Native Memoirs from the War of 1812 is an excellent example of how to annotate historic texts, particularly texts written by authors from non-European background. I recommend it to anyone interested in early 19th century aboriginal society and the contribution of First Nations to the War of 1812."

"One need only consult Benn’s exhaustive endnotes to see the herculean effort that went into researching, annotating, contextualizing, and stitching these two autobiographies together to create a vivid portrait of Native experiences and perspectives of the War of 1812 and the early American republic... One could almost argue that Benn's work is actually two books; the autobiographies themselves as one, with Benn’s annotations as the other. All of this is to say that Benn has done a remarkable job of putting these two Native voices into dialogue with one another, and then making them "speak to us in the twenty-first century with a vitality that commands our attention."

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