Guyasuta and the Fall of Indian America

Brady J. Crytzer. Westholme (Univ. of Chicago, dist.), $29.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-59416-174-2
Crytzer (Major Washington’s Pittsburgh and the Mission to Fort Le Boeuf), who teaches history at Robert Morris University, traces the life and times of Guyasuta, an influential sachem, or chief, among the Iroquois. The author’s task is a difficult one—Guyasuta lived a relatively long life (1724–1799) during one of the most tumultuous centuries on the North American continent, especially for Native Americans. The book unfolds as a litany of woes—ambushes, massacres, sieges, battles, and treaties (drafted and broken)—that constituted frontier conflict in the heyday of the hatchet and musket. Complicating the narrative are the shifting allegiances and reciprocal savageries of an age in which “Indians fought as a group of individuals seeking individual glory” and, for settlers, “each colony had its own character.” Crytzer emphasizes the fickle relationship between Guyasuta and his sometime ally George Washington, “two men whose careers were defined by battling the ideological fortunes of the other.” Although a visionary in his ideation of a “unified Indian identity,” Guyasuta never saw his dream fulfilled, and indeed witnessed the beginning of the end of Native America. Early American history buffs will relish this perspective on a seminal period of rebellion and revolution that saw the rise of one nation atop the remains of many more. 21 illus. & 8 maps. (June 21)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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