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Om författaren

Peter Cozzens is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State
Foto taget av: reading at National Book Festival By Slowking4 - Own work, GFDL 1.2,


Verk av Peter Cozzens

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General John Pope: A Life for the Nation (2000) 55 exemplar, 1 recension

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In the minds of many Americans, Indian Wars occurred out west and to the extent that they think of it at all, the War of 1812 occurred in Washington, Fort McHenry and New Orleans. “A Brutal Reckoning” tells of another related war against the Creek Indians occurring in what is now the Southeast, during 1813-1814. Author Peter Cozzens posits that this tragic episode in American history is one of the most significant episodes in the development of the United States.

In this, the final book in his trilogy on Indian wars, Cozzens devotes the first two parts, comprising about forty percent of the text, to the background of the Indians living in much of what is now Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and some of western Florida. It was home to the Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw nations, the Creek Confederacy and then Spanish West Florida. Fortunately, the author provides definitions of Indian place name and an appendix identifying Creek and Metis (mixed blood) personages.

The saga begins with events amounting to a civil war among the Indians themselves. Add to this, the lust of southern Americans for more land and British intrigue related to the War of 1812 and we have the formula for a history altering war.

The saga Peter Cozzens told in 464 pages is too complicated for me to relate in this review, so I will briefly summarize, supplemented by relevant quotations from the Ballad of Davy Crockett popularized by the Disney series of the 1950s.

After a period of internal turmoil and conflicts with whites, on August 13, 1813 Red Sticks, a group of Creek warriors known for the clubs they carried, massacred whites at Fort Mims, now Alabama, (In 1813, the Creeks uprose, Adding redskin arrows to the country's woes) setting off calls for revenge and attacks to prevent further Indian atrocities. In response, militia were recruited from East and West Tennessee, commanded by Andrew Jackson and including Davy Crockett (Indian fighting is something he knows, So he shoulders his rifle and thar he goes), joined U. S. regulars and Cherokee allies to administer revenge at Horseshoe Bend, also now Alabama, on March 27, 1814.

So, other than being a source of inspiration for some of the Davy Crockett stories, why is this Indian war so important in the history of the country, how is it related to the War of 1812 and why should current readers about it?

Why so important? In the words of the author, “No other Indian conflict in our nation’s history so changed the complexion of American society as did the Creek War”. Rather than the cession of small, frequently marginal, lands as was the case in some other Indian wars, this one opened Alabama, much of Mississippi and parts of Georgia and North Carolina to white settlement. The decision, finalized after the Creek War, to expel the Indians to west of the Mississippi forever changed the population mix of the modern Southeast and Oklahoma, the western end of the Trail of Tears.

Related to the War of 1812? Besides being cotemporaneous, the resources of the United States government were so heavily devoted to fighting the British that the states were forced to rely largely on their own militia and alliances they could make with Indian leaders. For centuries, Indians had balanced whites, British, French, Spanish and American, to their own advantage. In this case, the Red Sticks sought succor along the Gulf Coast from their traditional British allies, as did Indians in the Great Lakes region (documented in Cozzens’ “Tecumseh and the Prophet”). British response was conditioned by its commitments in other military theatres and Britain’s overall strategic interests.

Why should we care? Because we are still living with its consequences. Slavery was on the wane. Its employment on the worn-out soils of the Old South was growing less profitable. It seemed on the road to ultimate extinction. The lands opened by the Creek War became the Cotton Kingdom into which settlers and slaves poured. It was here that succession and Civil War arose. This war made Andrew Jackson a hero, leading to his command at New Orleans and presidency. Dare anyone doubt that we are still bobbing in the ripples from Andrew Jackson and the Civil War?

Personally, I appreciate some of the subtleties woven into this tome. Events often seem more sharply differentiated when viewed through the lens of history than when lived in real time. We think of Whites versus Reds, but as we learn on these pages it was some whites, some Metis and some Indians against other whites, Metis and Indians. We read of Metis, such as Alexander McGillivray who became a wealthy planter, slave owner and intermediary between Creeks and the whites. Is he an example of an opportunity for the assimilation of Indians that was swept away? I am intrigued by Secretary of State James Monroe’s response to the plea of the Governor David Mithcell of Georgia for protection against “incursions of hostile savages.” Monroe responded: “As the expedition against the hostile creeks is very interesting to Georgia” and “will be carried on principally within the limits of that state, and the president has high confidence in your ability to command it with advantage to the United Staes, he desires that you would take charge of it.” While foreign to our expectations, the answer may reflect a greater acknowledgement of independence of the states in the years leading up to 1861.

Readers are indebted to Peter Cozzens for this exploration of this oft overlooked but most significant time in our history. Though detailed, his writing style maintains interest. The maps are very helpful and the bibliography a useful guide to further reading.

I did receive a free copy of this book without an obligation to post a review.
… (mer)
JmGallen | 1 annan recension | Nov 26, 2023 |
Andrew Jackson, the Creek Indians, and the epic war for the American South
cfzmjz041567 | 1 annan recension | May 20, 2023 |
Patterned after the classic Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, this series of five volumes will the most comprehensive work on the military aspects of the Indian Wars in the West. The author will gather a wide variety of first-person accounts that are not generally available elsewhere, relying primarily on unpublished manuscript accounts and contemporaneous newspaper articles. Each article covering an event or battle will be placed within its context, with background information on the author of the article, a historical introduction evaluating the article's accuracy and significance, and a "for further reading" list of sources.… (mer)
CalleFriden | Feb 6, 2023 |
"Chiefs and warriors-since our great chief Tecumseh has been killed, we do not listen to one another, we do not rise together, we hurt ourselves by it, it is our own fault, it is not our Father's fault. We do not when we go to war rise together, but we go one or two, and the rest say they will go tomorrow."

-Chief Naiwash mourning Tecumseh.

Naiwash's lament, referenced within the book itself, summarizes Tecumseh's importance in history. He was one of those rare firebrand revolutionaries like Banda Singh Bahadur, or the fundamentalists of the Delian League who battled to alter the fate of their communities and usher in a new era of prosperity for there peoples. Unfortunately, their very own followers proved lacklustre, visionless and ultimately betrayed them. 'The Warrior And The Prophet' is a narration of Tecumseh's meteoric rise and cataclysmic fall in a world rent apart by the British and the nascent Americans; between the spiritual indigenous traditionalists and the progressive dissolutionists.

Contrary to the established precedent on Tecumseh, Cozzens chooses not to solely focus on him but also his brother Tenskwatawa, a reputed Prophet who provided the religious incitement to battle American encroachment of indigenous territories. Parallel to this, Cozzens also charts how Tecumseh intelligently utilized his brother's newfound magnetism to build his own charisma and rally a coalition of disaffected warriors to war against the Americans. More adroitly, Cozzens unearths the British role in supporting the brothers' fight for autonomy and independence.

Exceptionally, 'The Warrior And The Prophet' is devoid of highbrow jargon which makes it a pleasure to read. The way Cozzens structures his narrative makes it a thrilling read. I confess I read it in a marathon sitting of three days. This is history as never before. Tecumseh is worthy of immortality. Cozzens augments his eternity with this new analysis of the man and his times.
… (mer)
Amarj33t_5ingh | Jul 8, 2022 |



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