I can't believe I just got around to reading this book that I've seen sourced in other history books many times. I've read a few other captivity narraI can't believe I just got around to reading this book that I've seen sourced in other history books many times. I've read a few other captivity narratives but this one is right up my alley in that it mostly happened in Madison County Ohio near Columbus. In fact, when I was in the middle of reading it, I happened to be off work for Christmas break so I took advantage of that and combined my hobby of geocaching and made the 90 minute drive to visit some of the places mentioned, including Alder's cabin and resting place. It's always great when history becomes a hands on experience.
Alder's 1806 cabin in Madison County Since Indians in that period had no written language we have to rely on what was told to Europeans and Americans regarding day to day life. Many times that is filtered through misinterpretation, misunderstandings, or prejudice. Alder was captured by Shawnee and adopted by Mingo at a young age in 1781. He adapted well and was treated well so I think we get a pretty accurate look into his experiences. Nelson's version denotes in an italic font what are considered revised additions to what he believes is the truest account of Alder's life. It's a bit complicated and the author explains this more in the introduction.
Alder voluntarily left his Mingo family in 1805 as white settlers arrived after the Treaty of Greenville. He reunited with his white family in Virginia and returned to Ohio with them and his new wife 1806. He served as a Captain in the War of 1812. After the war he became a farmer and befriended the famous pioneer Simon Kenton. Alder lived out his days in Madison County Ohio until his death in 1849.
So much of what we know about regular life as an Indian in Ohio in the early 19th century comes from Alder's excellent narrative and Nelson provides additional footnotes throughout that detail further what Alder was referring to at times or what he meant when in the vernacular. Don't skip out on those notes if you get this version of the book.
In summary, this very easy read should be required reading for any student of history of the early United States and the old Northwest Territory. ...more
Another great detailed Winkler book on an important battle in the Old Northwest. If you want to know specifics on the events at Fallen Timbers look noAnother great detailed Winkler book on an important battle in the Old Northwest. If you want to know specifics on the events at Fallen Timbers look no further. Personally I would get the print copy vs a Kindle version as this makes the many maps and illustrations easier to reference....more
In some bizarre cosmic alignment, and I swear this was not planned, the library copy I requested became available from my Holds on the 205th anniversaIn some bizarre cosmic alignment, and I swear this was not planned, the library copy I requested became available from my Holds on the 205th anniversary of the week this battle took place.
Most folks that know me know of my fascination with all things related to William Henry Harrison, so this was a treat to read. Unbeknown to Harrison this battle would lead him to the White House 30 years later by following in the war hero tradition of a political enemy like Andrew Jackson. So many things would have turned out differently in history had he not won this victory. While not an overwhelming military defeat for the US, it was a demoralizing loss for the followers of Tecumseh and the Prophet which would help the US defeat Great Britain in the War of 1812. I've read several accounts of this battle in other books but it was great to see in depth tactical information and maps of this specific conflict along with some photographs and sketches I had not seen before.
I've read one other Winkler book in this series, "Wabash 1791: St Clair’s defeat". It looks like I'll be reading "The Thames 1813: The War of 1812 on the Northwest Frontier" next!
This was a library copy but I will be putting this on the Christmas list to own and add to my William Henry Harrison library. Not an important President, but an important figure in a mostly forgotten era of American history that I enjoy....more
A pretty great book for understanding an often overlooked and turbulent period in American history. Most people just skip from the Revolution to a chaA pretty great book for understanding an often overlooked and turbulent period in American history. Most people just skip from the Revolution to a chapter on the War of 1812 and then on to the Civil War without much thought to what happened in between. That leaves out 30+ decades of history. This book fills that gap and connects the dots very well....more
I was excited to learn of a 3rd Candice Millard book. I just love her style of writing. She really brings history to life. I ended up with the KindleI was excited to learn of a 3rd Candice Millard book. I just love her style of writing. She really brings history to life. I ended up with the Kindle version and also checked out the Audio book from the library to listen to on my work commute. Her first book on President Garfield's death is one of my favorites, her 2nd book on Teddy Roosevelt in the Amazon was just as thrilling. I will admit I was a bit hesitant here since the topic of this book is outside my normal historical interests. It's not American or Presidential history and it takes place at the turn of the 20th century. However, Millard did it again with a riveting tale of a legendary historical figure, and how he got to be that way. It's not just a bio on Churchill as a young man, it's also a primer on a war I suspect most people outside England or South Africa know anything about, the Second Boer War. I didn't even know what a Boer was before I read this book. It turns out they are descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of southern Africa. They hated British rule and treated the indigenous people terribly. Given my normal interests, Early to mid Mid American history, I was immediately struck with some similarities, although not exact...I saw the Boers as the Americans, the native Africans as the Native Americans caught in the middle and of course the British in the same role as the spread thin imperialists trying to hang on to another colony. My overall impression of Churchill was that he was a blue blooded overly confident and sometimes selfish man. However, he was a product of his time and heritage but I think the world sometimes needs a person like that. Those traits certainly coalesced during this period and came in handy later as a leader during WWII. It was amazing to me that POWs like Winston (and captured officers) were allowed quite a few luxuries by their captors. Access to haircuts, a camp store, decent food, a degree of freedom within the camp. As the book states, this was more due to the Boers trying to show the world that they were not the curs the British made them out to be. They wanted respect in the eyes of the world. Another take-away, while only mentioned in the epilogue, I had no idea that what we think of as concentration camps was introduced by the British during this war, where thousands of homeless Boer civilians perished in horrible conditions after their farms and towns were burned as part of a scorched Earth policy. It reminded me a bit of the poorly administered Trail of Tears in the US and the horrors of the US Civil War campaigns. All in all it was a real page turner and I await patiently for a new Candace Millard book!...more
I decided to read this book in May 2016 when it was announced that Harriet Tubman's likeness would share the $20 bill with Andrew Jackson. I didn't knI decided to read this book in May 2016 when it was announced that Harriet Tubman's likeness would share the $20 bill with Andrew Jackson. I didn't know much about her other than the typical abolition stories most of us get from a grade school history class.
Much of Harriet's story had only been told orally by Tubman and exaggerated by others over the years. Thus, the book is peppered with speculative adverbs such as maybe, possibly, perhaps, etc. I find this to be understandable since Tubman was illiterate, and Larson backs his assertions up with other writers words and letters along with other good source material to fill out the narrative. The author dispels with some of the myths and offers reasons for them. I feel this is a truthful, captivating, and well written biography, but it's much more than that. It's a story told in context. Kate Clifford Larson fills in some of the gaps in Harriet's story with an explanations of how the class system operated in 19th century America. This is crucial in order to understand how enslaved people were able to move about and operate on the Underground Railroad undetected. I think most people when they think of slavery envision the plantation system in the deep South, like Roots. But in Maryland, slaves could be hired out to work at other farms and even allowed to visit extended family unsupervised for periods of time. Slaves were even permitted to marry free blacks. This wasn't done out of sheer kindness. The children of a slave/freeman marriage still belonged to the master. This act was more or less an investment. They knew that if a slave had a strong extended family, they were less likely to run away. If slaves caused trouble, they might be sold to a much crueler master in the deep South away from their family. As if the moral problems of legal slavery were not bad enough, some slave owners cheated the system as they saw their livelihood slowly disappearing. As abolitionists made progress with Americans on the idea of emancipation, at a certain point selling your own slaves in Northern states became illegal. Instead of freeing or manumitting them at a certain age as the law dictated, some masters would simply sell them to illegal Southern slave dealers and claim they ran away. It was rare for a slave owner to be prosecuted for this.
It is sad that despite Tubman's accomplishments of 19 trips assisting 300 people to freedom and later working for the Union Army, she was still quite poor and struggled in her final days and even dismissed somewhat by others after her death. Tubman was a brave courageous woman who did much to help make this country truly "equal". One of America's greatest sins was kicking the can of slavery down the road until finally the lives 600,000 Americans would be sacrificed to end that practice.
From what I've read about Jackson, he wouldn't like this one bit, but being famously anti-bank, one wonders how he made it on the $20 bill himself. You would have to get into the 20th century before you would find the US President who would have been OK with this. Maybe Kennedy, but not with the Jim Crow South in the 1960s. Times and attitudes change and I'll be glad to see Tubman on the $20 bill, even if it is over 100 years after her death....more