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Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America
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Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  12 reviews
“With remarkable literary skill, Peter Silver . . . provokes hard thinking about the basic themes of our history.”—Sean Wilentz, The Rise of American Democracy

Relying on meticulous original archival research, historian Peter Silver uncovers a fearful and vibrant early America in which Lutherans and Presbyterians, Quakers, Catholics and Covenanters, Irish, German, French,
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 3rd 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published November 26th 2007)
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Frank Stein

An interesting description of how the war between Indians and white colonists unified colonial America before the onset of the revolution.

Despite the broad title, the book focuses almost entirely on Pennsylvania, and specifically on Pennsylvania during the Seven Years War and its aftermath. It's an interesting choice because the Quaker Penn family's early "Peace Policy" meant that the state was relatively free of Indian war until the 1750s. The vicious battles during this time, then, came as eve
This book provided me with intriguing new perspectives on the period from just before the French and Indian War, through the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The unfortunate loss of 2 stars was a result of insufficient organization, lack of clarity, and lack of balance. Yes, I understand that this book has received recognition from those far better versed than I, but this is just one layman's perspective. Also, the subtitle is very misleading. This book is not a treatment of how early Amer ...more
This book is a little misleading, and I don't know whether to blame the author or the publisher or who. The book is titled "Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America." But it is not really about "early America", it is about Pennsylvania. Silver tries, in the intro and conclusion, to make a case that the book is about the middle colonies in general, but really. No. It is about Pennsylvania. And very specifically, for much of the time, it is about Pennsylvania politics, and ho ...more
Sam Newton
I think there's an interesting thesis, but it is very had to find in this book: colonists adopt the "white people" label during the Seven Years war and united together against the common threat of Indians. They brutally fought their common enemy and ultimately united as a tolerant people. Huge overuse of quotations to the point of distraction. I had to labor through what should have been a much easier read. This book wandered back and through through so many inconsistent points that I had diffic ...more
Brandon Righi
An essential read if you're seeking an understanding of the American character and history. I would rate this up there with other classics such as American Slavery, American Freedom.

This is not a jingoistic history––be prepared to be saddened by what you learn. But the knowledge is empowering and enlightening.
Kathleen Hulser
Brilliant analysis of what fear does to create prejudice, examining a fascinating assortment of writings from colonial period that show early Americans quaking in their boots at the mere thought of Indians. Silver has thoughtfully drawn on 20th century studies of the genesis of racial prejudice to interpret foreign relations between Indian nations and colonial Americans, documenting not only the rise of attitudes that congeal into hardened stereotypes, but also the mutation of rumor into firm op ...more
Jamie Thomas
Oct 28, 2013 Jamie Thomas rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jamie by: Professor
It was hard to grasp his thesis, I'm still not sure if I do. It appears that "Our Savage Neighbors" is about how the colonists were also savages to their Indian neighbors. Silver over uses quotes to a point that it distracted me more than it helped me. He also does not have a set style, he often jumps around the different decades and re-tells stories. I struggled to finish this book.
3.5 rating... A tedious work I had to fight to finish. The writing wasn't bad or difficult, nor the subject matter especially dull; but I was underwhelmed the whole way through and found nothing particularly revelatory to make it worth my while. Must have been a bad year for Bancroft considerations for this to have won.
One of the worst written books I have read. Informative but poorly contrived with a style that hard to follow. His use of quotes throughout make it even more difficult to follow exactly what he is saying and it questions whether it really is his work.
Our Savage Neighbor by Peter Silver is a book that was really hard to fallow and I did not enjoy reading it at all.
got better as it went along
as a transplant to PA, this book gave me a lot of history of many of the hills and valleys I've ridden my bicycle over.
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