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Drums Along the Mohawk

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  882 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
The seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of Drums along the Mohawk reminds us not only that Edmonds’s masterpiece is the best historical novel about Upstate New York since James Fenimore Cooper but also that it was number one on the best-seller list until overtaken by Gone With the Wind.

This is the story of the forgotten pioneers of the Mohawk Valley during the Rev
Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Syracuse University Press (first published 1936)
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Bubbamike It needs some adult guidance. There is regular use of the "N" word and while there are no explicit sex scenes there is a lot of mentioning of sex.…moreIt needs some adult guidance. There is regular use of the "N" word and while there are no explicit sex scenes there is a lot of mentioning of sex. Some historical context about settlement in the Mohawk Valley would also be very useful. Aside from those points this is a very good tale about the conflict during the Revolutionary war.(less)

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Oct 15, 2009 rated it liked it
I first stumbled upon the works of Walter D. Edmonds when I was in fourth grade and attending public school at Ridgeview Elementary in Bloomington, Minnesota (the next year I went to Catholic school, and remained in Catholic schools until graduating law school, which has left me a debt I will literally never repay). In those pre-Amazon days, students would receive monthly order forms from Troll Books. I - rather, my mom - ordered Edmonds' The Matchlock Gun, which I eagerly devoured with sweaty p ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction
Written in a solidly Realist style, this novel was part of the vanguard of the introduction of the Realist school to the historical fiction genre; as late as the early 1900s, Realist writers and critics such as Frank Norris (who roundly condemned Sarah Orne Jewett as a traitor to the movement for writing a novel set during the Revolutionary War) were still dogmatically committed to the view that the present was the only proper setting for serious literature. It also reflects a strong new current ...more
Nov 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This should be required reading for New York state grammar or high school students the year they study the Revolutionary War. It follows a young couple and their community throughout the war period. The battles, betrayals, babies born and lost, farms and houses burned, people and animals slaughtered, solders killed and captured, daring raids, prisoners of war, native friends and foes, are portrayed in a clear prose style. The stories of historical and fictional characters weave together. I finis ...more
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nearly 80 years old, this classic is still enjoyable. I didn't feel it was dated. but for the heavy dialect of the black servant, Daisy, and the Tonto-like laconic talk of Blue Back, the Indian scout. It's the story of a farmer and his wife and their community in the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York in the 18th century. We experience the hardscrabble life of these characters and a feel for the American Revolution as fought in this area, along with Indian attacks and destruction. Very readable, ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is great old-school story-telling and great historical fiction. There's so much going on. You certainly get caught up with the characters, most of them not fictionalized but real historical people, as are most of the events in the book. But it's the whole world-view that I found so powerful. The frontier of early America not the West, as it would later be and forever remain in our national imagination, but upstate New York. That was a revelation. And what the Revolutionary War was like foug ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
What can I say; I love old-timey shit. This book is pretty awesome because it explores how confusing and contentious the Revolutionary War times must have been. It's really a challenge to the "inevitability of history" and it includes the inner lives of women and men. I never thought before about how early settlers must have been real human beings, who liked some people, and not others, who didn't know what they were talking about regarding Native Americans, and who weren't necessarily too excit ...more
MattandCathy Brandley
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This a a good historical novel about the struggles of our early settlers.
Seth Hanson
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Drums Along the Mohawk is a historical fiction novel about settlers in western New York during the Revolutionary war. The two most predominant characters, Gil and Lana Martin, are newlyweds who are, at the beginning of the book, going to live on Gil's new land. As they travel, Lana hears frightening rumors about Indians and the war in the area. They then arrive at Gil's land, where the isolation and emptiness of the home and the surrounding land make Lana uncomfortable. However, she begins to fe ...more
Gretchen Mueller
Gil and Lana Martin, newly married move to Gil's farm in upstate new York. One day when they are trying to log the land for crop use, Gil's native-american friend Blue Back came to warn them about a group of Seneca Indians and king's people that are destroying everything in their path. The families near deer-field, where Gil and Lane live, pack up their movable belongings and move to a fort that the minutemen use for a shelter. On the journey, Lana loses the baby that she had been carrying for t ...more
Hunter Falish
Gil and Lana are the main characters throughout the whole book. There are many very important sub characters, but they play the biggest roles throughout the whole book. The book starts with telling about Gil and Lana and how Gil saved her from a fire while she was drying seeds. It then goes on to talk about how they moved west together and settled their own little cabin. Shortly after they settle, they are pushed out of their home by invaders, as the story takes place during the revolutionary wa ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
For the most part, I really enjoyed this historical novel of the Revolutionary War period. The area came alive for me, being an Upstate New Yorker, as I recognized places we had toured. The description of the battle at Oriskany is factual and tragic; our family has visited both Oriskany Battlefield and Fort Stanwix.

The reader is caught up with Magdalena's story as she marries, works alongside her husband Gil in clearing and planting land, only to see it destroyed by the British and Senecas. The
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whenever I go back to a book the second time, or when I go back to read a book again after seeing the movie, I know that somewhere in the experience of reading or watching there must be a kernel of truth, a hook or a moment that has great meaning to me. This book should have great meaning to anyone living in upstate NY, for it is our history that is relived here.

Syracuse, where I now live, was still Indian territory and Herkimer was the western frontier of the colonies at the time of the revolu
Nathan Kaczmarek
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Book Drums Along The Mohawk is about settlers in New York in Mohawk valley. It takes place during the revolutionary war, the late 1700's. The author mainly focuses on two people, Lana and Gil. Gil and Lana marry in the beginning, and they move to Gil's cabin. At first Lana is skeptical, but after she meets the neighbors and lives in the house for a while, she feels as if she belongs there. After a while the Indian revolt and burn down houses, towns, killing and scalping all that get in the w ...more
Jacquelin Devlin
Excellent. Since I now live in the Mohawk Valley and all the place names are familiar to me, this book really came alive. Edmonds packs in the history and develops his characters as well. I now scan the woods for Indians. Seriously, the valley has not changed all that much. It's still largely farmed, population is scarce(compared to shoreline Connecticut)and the family names are still the same. Only weeks ago, the Palatine Church re-enacted the wedding of Gil and Lana Martin, not unusual for an ...more
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An amazing experience that can be enhanced with reading Forgotten
Allies about the role of the Oneidas in the Battle of Oriskany.
The familiar movie with Henry Fonda does not match the fine book in style or substance.

I have read several articles about the Battle of Oriskany and the author is amazingly accurate with the exception of not giving ample credit to the Oneidas for their bravery and sacrafice.
Sarah Sammis
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
One of those American classics that should be read.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Drums Along the Mohawk has to be one of the great book titles ever. The title tells it all. Settlers vs the Indians in the Mohawk Valley of upper NY state during the Revolutionary War. It is full of terroristic activities on both sides. Lots of attacks, burnings and scalpings. There are some really interesting critiques of Drums Along the Mohawk on Goodreads. This is a classic piece of historical fiction and a pretty good read giving one a sense of what life was like in those days. Somehow I mis ...more
Linda Russo
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Much better than I expected. The resiliency and determination of the settlers who lived in the Mohawk Valley during the Revolutionary War was amazing. The conditions were pretty brutal. I'm not sure what kept them there. If you like historical fiction, don't let the rather dry title hold you back. Warning: written in the 1930s--use of the n word. Racism pretty accepted.
Roger Staggs
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Fairly boring. You have to really be a fan of this genre and time period to get through this one. I guess it's an old classic and I'm glad I finally read it but there was really zero "wow" moments with this book.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazing historical novel, without all the romanticizing so often featured in the genre. Well researched and well written. Hard to put aside the feelings engendered by the book once I have put the book itself aside.
Janet C.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in U.S. history
Recommended to Janet C. by: Nobody
This book is full of historical places, people, and events during the revolutionary war. Hardships that were endured by the characters were really tough! An excellent, educational read! I learned so much about the beginnings of our nation.
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Does a great job of immersing the reader into time and place, but was a bit boring and anti-climactic.
Mary Keroson
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found myself rooting for the characters through all their hardships.
Sherry Cooper
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audio book. Great historical fiction!
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(Audible; Mark Bramhall, narrator) Edmonds tells good stories. Many of his vignettes are like short stories. The ones about Joe Bolayo and his Indian wife, and about the Widow Klenner are especially good.
P.S. Winn
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's the revolutionary war and this book takes readers back in time to the incidents that shaped out nation and the people who lived through them.
Nancy Graham
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Historically I loved it but, there was a lot of everyday details and characters that didn't go deep enough. I love historical fiction for giving life to the past . This book certainly did that.
Lee Barney
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good historical fiction, it gives insight into what it was like on the frontier during the revolutionary war. If you love history you’ll enjoy this book.
Blane S
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Why is the author listed as James Fenimore Cooper on the book cover? 1 19 Feb 02, 2009 04:13PM  
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Walter D. Edmonds has been a National Book Award winner and recipient of the Newbery Medal. He is the author of Bert Breen’s Barn, The Boyds of Black River, In the Hands of the Senecas, Mostly Canallers, Rome Haul, Time to Go House, and most recently the autobiographical Tales My Father Never Told, all available from Syracuse University Press.
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