In "Masters of Empire," the historian Michael A. McDonnell reveals the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential.Read more...
In "Masters of Empire," the historian Michael A. McDonnell reveals the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential. "Masters of Empire" charts the story of one group, the Odawa, who settled at the straits between those two lakes, a hub for trade and diplomacy throughout the vast country west of Montreal known as the "pays d en haut."
Highlighting the long-standing rivalries and relationships among the great Indian nations of North America, McDonnell shows how Europeans often played only a minor role in this history, and reminds us that it was native peoples who possessed intricate and far-reaching networks of commerce and kinship, of which the French and British knew little. As empire encroached upon their domain, the Anishinaabeg were often the ones doing the exploiting. By dictating terms at trading posts and frontier forts, they played a crucial part in the making of early America.
Through vivid depictions all from a native perspective of early skirmishes, the French and Indian War, and the American Revolution, "Masters of Empire" overturns our assumptions about colonial America. By calling attention to the Great Lakes as a crucible of culture and conflict, McDonnell reimagines the landscape of American history."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-05
- Reviewer: Staff
McDonnell (The Politics of War), associate professor of history at the University of Sydney, deploys impeccable research skills to challenge the middle grounds historical interpretation of Native AmericanEuropean encounters. He reveals how the Anishinaabeg, a Great Lakes tribe that has received little attention from outside chroniclers of the 17th and 18th centuries, treated the arriving French and English as minor characters in a long-standing series of tribal rivalries. McDonnell opens with a compelling account of the politics and culture of the region, already riven by indigenous competition and warfare when the French arrived in the 17th century, and introduces Charles Michel Mouet de Langlade and his mixed-race family. In 1752, de Langlade led an attack on a Miami Indian village in the Ohio Valley that set the stage for the Seven Years War (17541763), which has long been mistakenly called the French and Indian War and which pitted Native Americans and French and English settlers against one another for control of the area. With a fascinating reexamination of the political, military, and economic details of the war, as well as a stunning final chapter on the American Revolution and the meaning of (in)dependence, McDonnell admirably expands readers understanding of Indian country on its own terms. Maps & illus. (Dec.)