White Savage Fintan OToole

ISBN: 9780571218400

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White Savage  by  Fintan OToole

White Savage by Fintan OToole
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This is the great and forgotten story of the man who in the mid-eighteenth century saved North America for the British Empire, and ensured that in future it would be dominated by English-speaking Protestants. Yet William Johnson came from a familyMoreThis is the great and forgotten story of the man who in the mid-eighteenth century saved North America for the British Empire, and ensured that in future it would be dominated by English-speaking Protestants.

Yet William Johnson came from a family of Irish Catholic rebels and was closer to the Indians than he was to his fellow colonists. He believed he could preserve the way of life of the Native Americans under British rule - but neither the peoples nor the colony would survive his passing. He was born in Meath, near Dublin, in 1715 and as a young man broke his fathers heart by converting to Protestantism in order to make his way in the world. Emigrating to New York, he became a great trader and landowner. His intimate understanding of the Iroquois tribes was such that he was recognised by them as a wise holy man, a master of their rituals and religion.

He had an Indian as well as a European wife. Johnson was the mediator that the Indians needed to deal with the British, and something in him - an affinity with a threatened culture, sympathy for a religion that had such respect for sacred places - needed his savage friends. When war broke out with the French in 1756, he kept most of the tribes on the British side and led them in battle using their skills as forest fighters.

Yet once the war was over, the promises that Johnson had made to his Indian allies were systematically broken. In a narrative full of set pieces - whether Johnsons solemn ceremonies with Iroquois chieftans, dramatic battle scenes or entertainments at his mansion in the wilderness of upstate New York - White Savage integrates epic political and military events with a deeply personal and moving story.



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