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Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In this narrative history of the Mohawk River Valley and surrounding region from 1713 to 1794, Professor Richard Berleth charts the passage of the valley from a fast-growing agrarian region streaming with colonial traffic to a war-ravaged wasteland. The valley's diverse cultural mix of Iroquois Indians, Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, and Highland Scots play ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published February 26th 2010 by Black Dome Press (first published January 15th 2009)
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Start your review of Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier
In the front, [Ebenezer] Cox obeyed his general’s orders and formed his companies to fire straight down the road into a swelling mass of attackers. Their first fusillade held back a score of shouting braves. Jacob Dieffendorf, a lieutenant in the 1st, ran a young Indian through with his sword, heard his name called, turned, and was shot in the face by another assailant. George Casler, seeing this, slammed the butt of his musket into the head of the man who had shot the lieutenant and finished hi ...more
Kathleen Hulser
May 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Terrific take on geography as history, roams through what the glaciers did, following rivers and lakes through upstate New York, Quebec, Ontario, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to probe conflict in the 18th century. I especially appreciate the way Berleth focuses on local meanings. You understand that it is not the monolithic British administration in play, but rather Sir William Johnson and his minions; not a big lump of Indians, but actual Mohawks, Oneidas and others; not colonials i ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Let’s see, growing up in NYS amidst the settings of this historic rendition, I found interest in my own visits to those locations. But, unfortunately I was transported back to 7th grade American History class, doing whatever I could to remain awake.
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
A well written history of the Mohawk Valley during the Colonial and Revolutionary periods when it was a critical strategic location. Richard Berleth chooses his topics wisely and writes engagingly about why the Valley was so important and how major invasions, first by the French and 20 years later, by the English were defeated, saving the New York Colony. And he details the cost and sacrifice involved with as much as 2/3rd of the population dead or fled from the Valley. The Battle of Oriskany wa ...more
Steve Smits
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The history of 18th century conflicts in and near the Mohawk Valley is of special interest to me as our family's home is on the northern reaches of the Mohawk River in upstate New York; one can wade across it from behind our home. The house in which we live was built in 1795 by early settlers with a major expansion in the Federal style in 1812. Our town, established in 1798, is eight miles north along the river from Fort Stanwix in Rome, N.Y. The river flows southward from Northern New York and ...more
Nicholas Maulucci
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
awesome book. very detailed and intricate history of upstate New York during the revolutionary period. the book deals mainly with the relationship of the Indians with the loyalists or the militia. Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, Iroquois, tuscarora, Onondaga...I loved the book telling the history of a state that I have zig zagged and lived in for 20 years. Onondaga (syracuse), cobleskill, Schenectady, cherry valley...the raids, the savagery, the valor. I thoroughly enjoyed this tough read about beautifu ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A thorough account of the relationship between the Native Americans, Loyalists, and Patriots in New York State during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Serves as another reminder of the disservice our nation did the Native Americans after enlisting their help to defeat the British. As a resident of Upstate NY I enjoyed the local history the book provided.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book, offering a history of the 18th Century conflicts in upstate New York which defined the future of both NY and the United States. The story follows a number of key characters, native and newly arrived, loyalist and American, farmer and merchant as they participated in the slow development of New York from the country of the Iroquois to the American state. Starting with the first clashes between Dutch/English colonists and French traders early in the 1700s and ending with the major ca ...more
Joy Wilson
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the US we are all taught about the revolutionary war; however, I knew nothing about the portion of the war that took place in the northern sphere. I found out about the battle on the Plains of Abraham while vacationing in Montreal and Quebec City. This period of history is often quickly discussed and then passed up for the more sexy Civil war. This book is well composed and well-written as the stories of the people who lived, settled, and died in the Mohawk River valley. Berleth does an excel ...more
Joseph Riordan
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York’s Frontier by Richard j. Berleth is an overview of the history of the Mohawk River Valley. It starts by describing the colonial era and the relationship between the colonists and the Iroquois. It chronicles the bloody history of the valley during both wars. It also presents the American Revolution not only as a war between the Americans and British but also as a civil war between the Iroquois tribes.
I picked this book up
Paul Lunger
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With "Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier", Richard Berleth gives we the reader a look at this history of the Mohawk Valley & the ways that this part of the Empire state would shape the future of both New York as well as the US. Each step of the way across this period of about 30 years the stories of the people who settled the state as well as the Native Americans are revealed along with just how intertwined this particular river valley would be ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Family ties and an interest in history led me to this book. I knew of Ft William Henry, Ft Edward, and the Battle of Bennington. I always smiled seeing the sign announcing Whitehall (Skenesboro) as the birthplace of the US Navy. Reading the story behind the Battle of Valcour Island, and the subsequent burning of the American fleet had me captivated. I knew of the Battle of Oriskany; what happened there was something I didn't know. But most impressive to me was what the author said about the vari ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the frontier in upstate New York where the Iroquois confederation vied with the French to the north, the avaricious Dutch to the south replaced by the restless British and German Palantine emigrees. For fifty years, the Iroquois were the dominant force by their diplomatic skills and fighting prowess but they were doomed. Ultimately they backed the wrong side and got caught up in the revolutionary war which in upstate NY was a brutal civil war with Tories fighting Patriots an ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I am not really a reader of battles but this one caught my interest as the "patriarch" of our family was scalped on May 22, 1780 in Fonda, New York. This book gave me a sense of the history leading up to this event and why and how it might have happened, despite the lore that he was a "close personal friend" of William Johnson, and had always been on good terms with the Indians. A lot of terrible things happened in those years on all sides. The Fonda have survived... the Natives haven't fared as ...more
Jerry Walsh
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very detailed story about the civil war between the Tories and their Indian allies and Patriots and their Indian allies in NY state. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about the American Revolution. Also learned much about the politics and infighting during the revolution. The anger and mental anguish the Iroquois People went through as the way of life and culture was being destroyed helped me understand the problems in the Middle East. The destruction in the Mohawk Val ...more
Joe Walker
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Riveting tale about a little known place and period in the American Revolution, a civil war / counterinsurgency involving English, French, Tories, Patriots, Uniformed Soldiers, militia, rangers, paramilitaries, criminals, murderers, 6 Native American tribes, 6-7 major European ethnicities and 6 or 7 languages. Includes the bloddiest battle of the War. All played out in a brutal and beautiful wilderness.

Probably the book to read before re-reading "The Last Of The Mohicans" or watching Jimmy Stewa
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am the descendant of German Palatines who migrated to the Mohawk Valley of New York in the 1700s and I have a Great X5 Grandfather who fought in the Colonial Army during the American Revolution. This is the very area and stories of the times that he lived.
The name Stopplebien was not mentioned, in this book, but every mention of the German Palatines, made me imagine how I would have felt because my ancestors were there and lived through these events.
Edward Lewandowski
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my second try getting through this book. I finally skipped the chapters about the missionaries and once I got back into it, it was extremely good reading. The Mohawk Valley was a repeated target of the Tories and their Indian allies. Learned some new info since I have read other books on the same subject, both fiction and nonfiction.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent story and an amazing factual history of the region. It was an academic struggle to keep tabs on all the names of various people and geographical locations. You will need to concentrate while reading this book. It is not light reading that can be rapidly skimmed with other distractions around you .
David Cuatt
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up in the Mohawk Valley but a great deal of the information in this book was new to me. Lots of details regarding not just battles, but also about the waves of immigration, spread of religion, and the plight of the valley's native inhabitants (Iroquois). This book will be of interest to anyone studying 18th Century America, but especially for someone with roots in the area like myself
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Insightful, and wonderfully laid out with the French and Indian War in the first half, and the Revolution in the second half. Stories are intertwined within the pages that give the reader a peak into the lives of the people and the natives during the colonial America.
Gus Kappler
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must-read to better understand the importance of a secure Mohawk Valley in preventing the British from invading NY and dividing the colonies in half.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Berleth's sweeping history of the Mohawk river valley is engrossing - the story picks up where the English have already come and taken over from the Dutch, who are snooty old money at this point, and the people of the long house have an uneasy co-existance with the white settlers, supplying them with pelts in return for manufactured goods. The book follows the sweep of events until at the end, the confederation of the native peoples is ripped apart in the extremely bl ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked it alot. It brought to life incidents I was familiar with, and tied them together with an historical overview that I hadn't previously had. I've visited many of the sites discussed, such as Newtown battlefield, Johnson Hall, Albany, etc., but this narrative definitely put it into a clearer perspective.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This the first book I have read that details the native Americans' role in the war. Other, more well known books gloss over the subject when in fact it was a major part of the revolution. My only problem reading it was that the timeline jumped around somewhat and I had difficulty keeping up with the characters. This was overall, a very good book.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, upstate-ny
Uneven. When it is good, it is very very good....

Of course I live in the Mohawk Valley, in what was then called German Flats. William Johnson has fascinated me for decades. Of course I am going to enjoy and be picky with this book.
May 16, 2010 marked it as to-read
I'm starting over again because the last time I picked up this book was in 2010...
And I have a better attention span now. hahahah
MaryAnn Warner
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved the local history I learned from this book! Wish I was better at retaining the names, but so many, along with the places are familiar to me.
Jeremiah Gumm
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: New York History Lovers
Fascinating read about the oft-forgotten history of the Mohawk River Valley in central New York. Berleth provides a balanced and fascinating historical narrative that was easy to read.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Great book, though it seemed a tiny bit apologist at the end. Well worth the read.
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