Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier

Timothy J. Shannon, Author . Viking $22.95 (260p) ISBN 978-0-670-01897-0

In this scholarly examination of Iroquois diplomacy through the 17th and 18th centuries, historian Shannon rejects the depiction of the Iroquois as “noble savages” and “fierce warriors” during the colonization of North America. Instead, he posits, “They were flesh and blood participants in a scramble for dominion in North America, and diplomacy was their tool of choice.” By maintaining official neutrality during the colonial wars, the Iroquois became key interlocutors in the New World—their diplomatic language and rituals became the lingua franca of New World multicultural deal making. Shannon credits the Iroquois strategy of diplomacy and “occasional subterfuge” with securing their survival as a political entity, pointing out, “Other Indians might have fought bravely against the European invaders, but only the Iroquois created a confederacy that was capable of withstanding the juggernaut of colonialization for so long.” Shannon meticulously chronicles Iroquois political maneuvering, and although many readers will find the highly technical account tedious, true aficionados of Native American history will relish this serious and sympathetic account of the Iroquois' skilled, if ultimately doomed, diplomacy. (July)

Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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