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The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of William Cooper's Town comes a dramatic and illuminating portrait of white and Native American relations in the aftermath of the American Revolution.

The Divided Ground tells the story of two friends, a Mohawk Indian and the son of a colonial clergyman, whose relationship helped redefine North America. As one served American expansio
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Paperback, 560 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2006)
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Billy
Apr 30, 2008 Billy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 19th-century-u-s
In the 20th century, American history shifted its focus away from Frederick Jackson Turner’s landmark “Frontier Thesis” towards “borderland,” studies, which focus on the fluidity of culture and power areas where national borders are yet well-defined. University of California-Davis Historian Alan Taylor’s latest book, The Divided Ground, is one such study. Its title purposefully recalls Richard White's The Middle Ground, a book that focused on the interactions and accommodations between cultures ...more
Juliet Waldron
Jan 20, 2012 Juliet Waldron rated it it was amazing
Pulitzer prize-winning author Alan Taylor has subtitled this scholarly yet accessible history “Indians, Settlers and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution.” Beginning with the French and Indian war and concluding during the early nineteenth century, Taylor sheds new light upon European/Native relations by following the parallel careers of two men, the charismatic Mohawk Indian leader Joseph Brant, and Presbyterian missionary-turned-speculator Samuel Kirkland. The focus is New York S ...more
Zachary Bennett
Mar 05, 2017 Zachary Bennett rated it it was ok

Taylor argues that Native Americans didn't stubbornly cling to their old views of land ownership in the face of settler expansion. Rather, by looking at Upstate NY, Iroquois, Taylor shows how they adapted their views to preserve their traditional lifestyle by leasing directly to nearby land buyers to preserve their traditional lifestyle which gave them an annual revenue replacing losses in animal population. A la The Middle Ground, Iroquois wanted to preserve a middle position between Britain an
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Jabberwock
Oct 14, 2013 Jabberwock rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
I've lived in western NY for over 30 years without understanding most of what preceded the modern era. This is revisionist in the sense that it's perspective is much more nuanced and balanced then typical milestone-based history that focus on battles and treaties - illuminating the conflicted motivations of both natives and settlers.

Taylor brings to life the humanity of many players - both Iroquois and European - but by focusing on two in particular gives us unique access to what lay behind the
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Joshua
May 11, 2009 Joshua added it
Shelves: dead-end
While reading "The World of Odysseus," I came across a footnote concerning the matriarcal society of the Iroquois. I was aware of this but knew little else. Intrigued, and wanting to learn more, I found the only book at our local library on the subject.

OK, I was mistaken. It seams to be just another dry, scholarly history. Besides, summer's comin' so why waste my time on something I'm b=not enthusiastic about. You know what I want to read....
Katie Wilson
Nov 12, 2013 Katie Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: fall-2013
The Divided Ground tells the story of a Mohawk and and a colonial clergyman who's friendship helped redefine colonial America. It was skillfully written shifting back and forth between examining the friendship on a micro-level and the relationship between Europeans and Native on a whole. While cooperation might I have worked on a singular level, it becomes clear that with the American Revolution, and the struggle of Native to preserve their own land, cooperation could not last.
David Trithart
Dec 14, 2009 David Trithart rated it it was amazing
Everyone living in the upstate New York area should read this book. We need to know the real history of our land. The relations between the European-Americans and the Native Americans between 1750 and 1820 is the focus of this book. It is a story far more interesting than what we have all learned in school. This books makes that history seem important and fascinating. The characters of the major players are vividly sketched.
Petter Nordal
Sep 15, 2010 Petter Nordal rated it really liked it
I wish everyone I knew who lives in this area would read this book. Not only historically fascinating, the arguments about native creativity in dealing with new and unjust legal decisions is as relevant as ever, especially when you look at what's going on with the Cayuga Nation work to have land put into trust.
John
Aug 07, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
A quite complex examination of the wars fought for my old neighborhood (upstate New York) during the American Revolution. It examines the different understandings of this borderland region that the British, the Americans, and the Native Americans (specifically, the Haudonosee People/the Iroquois)held.
John Daly
Jan 14, 2013 John Daly rated it it was amazing
Excellent book describing early American history focusing on the Iroquois. The book told me more about land dealings than I really wanted to know, but the accumulation of detail was probably necessary to convince the reader of the accuracy of the revisionist history. It changed my ideas about the founding of the United States and taught me a lot about the Iroquois.
Benita
Jul 13, 2009 Benita added it
Reads a little too much like a doctoral dissertation turned into a book. I'm not opposed to exhaustive detail, but this just didn't keep my attention to all the detail. Even though I read it as background for a very interesting workshop, I kept wishing the author had paid more attention to giving the reader a reason to keep on reading!
George
Oct 05, 2011 George rated it really liked it
A powerful, sad story of how the Iroquois lost most of their lands and were forced on to reservations in the decades following the American Revolution. In part the story is told through the lives of Mohawk leader Joseph Brant and Samuel Kirkland, a white missionary to the Oneida.
Marc
Aug 08, 2014 Marc rated it liked it
No one can fault Taylor's research, but this book has difficulty maintaining a narrative that is strong enough to make readers care about the anecdotal minutiae The Divided Ground spends much time discussing
Dan Rogers
Dec 22, 2010 Dan Rogers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-adult-books
Definitely not a quick read. I read this book in preparation for a summer workshop offered at Niagara University sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Chock full of information that must be slowly savored in order to fully appreciate the detail.
Howard Mansfield
Mar 03, 2013 Howard Mansfield rated it liked it
Taylor’s history of the many treaties and alliances of the new nation after the Revolution shuns non of the complexity of the story. Thoroughly researched and well told.
Julia A. Stanley
Julia A. Stanley rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2015
Ashley
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Wayne
Wayne rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2011
Heidi Thomas
Heidi Thomas rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2017
Oliver
Oliver rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2016
Seth Kolloen
Seth Kolloen rated it it was amazing
Oct 24, 2011
Zack Quaratella
Zack Quaratella rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2016
Matt Giddings
Matt Giddings rated it liked it
Nov 19, 2016
Jean
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Feb 29, 2012
Jessica Hughes
Jessica Hughes rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2014
Karen
Karen rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2011
Andrew
Andrew rated it really liked it
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Lauren
Lauren rated it liked it
Nov 12, 2007
Judd
Judd rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2012
Lewis Ward
Lewis Ward rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2017
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Alan Shaw Taylor is a historian specializing in early American history. He is the author of a number of books about colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Early American Republic. He has won a Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize for his work.

Taylor graduated from Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, in 1977 and earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1986. Currently a professor
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