I picked up this title while visiting the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's "Emissaries of Peace" exhibit (on loan from the Museum of the Cherokee...moreI picked up this title while visiting the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's "Emissaries of Peace" exhibit (on loan from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian); it's an exhibit I recommend.
This short book is an interesting first hand 18th century account of a Virginian second generation settler with the Cherokee. While not up to the rigor of say Jesuit Relations in regards to other Iroquois, Timberlake's firsthand account offer an fairly unique view into 18th century Cherokee village life. While I first thought Timberlake's memoirs were marred by his attempt to account for his spending and get out debt, it provides an unintentional cultural comparison between British's societies obsession with debt and political power of nobility versus the egalitarian communal ethics of the Cherokee. The reaction of Cherokee villagers with Timberlake compared to the reaction of Londoners is also a vivid contrast in cultures.
It is advised that you use two bookmarks with this one, with one in the a very detailed footnotes that almost stand as a book of their own, tirelessly compiled by Duane King that provides both archaeological and documentary verification of much of the contents of Timerblake's memoirs. Still, the tantalizing glimpse into the Cherokee traditional society of this unintentional ethnography will just leave anthropologists and historians hungry for more detail. The included bibliography seems like a good place to start.(less)