The Indian World of George Washington: the First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation

Colin G. Calloway. Oxford Univ., $34.95 (640p) ISBN 978-0-19-065216-6
Calloway (The Victory with No Name), a Dartmouth professor of history and Native American studies, uses George Washington’s life as a lens for uncovering forgotten history in this detailed account of interactions between Native and white Americans during the latter half of the 18th century. Following Washington from his early days as a land surveyor to his colonial service in the French and Indian War and his later command of the Continental Army command, Calloway highlights the complex and often ambiguous relationship between indigenous politics and the young republic. In particular, the desire to buy and sell Native land with impunity shaped key moments in Washington’s political life: a British proclamation limiting land purchases pushed him toward patriot resistance, and treaties forged under his presidency sought to expand the nation westward into Native territory. Calloway does not shy away from detailing Washington’s violence toward Native communities, including an infamous command to torch Iroquois cornfields, and he includes the perspectives of Native Americans whenever possible. Even so, it’s Washington who emerges as the most fully-formed character; the Native leaders Calloway mentions, however intriguing, receive less attention, suggesting another book awaits writing on the subject. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/19/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-548-9
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