The Shawnees and the War for America

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Media Reviews

Viking Penguin (2007)

Review by Bradley G. Shreve

One of the great challenges of being a history instructor is assigning books that are captivating, yet concise. In his new work, The Shawnees and the War for America, Colin Calloway offers us a succinct, lucidly written history of Shawnee resistance to white encroachment.

Calloway takes us from initial contacts between the Shawnee and Europeans in the Ohio River Valley to Tecumseh’s great vision of a united American Indian nation. He concludes his study with a chapter on the removal of the Shawnees to the West and their efforts to reestablish themselves in a foreign land. The result is a story of “tenacity and courage” in the face of overwhelming odds.

Calloway may be best known for his excellent American Indian history textbook, First Peoples. Like that volume, The Shawnees and the War for America is a straightforward, accessible, and sympathetic history that sets aside high theory and syntax.

The book is part of the Penguin Library’s American Indian History Series. As such, it is short (178 pages of text), yet it gives the reader a good understanding of how eastern woodland tribes confronted, resisted, and eventually adapted to the European invasion.

Bradley G. Shreve is chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at Diné College where he teaches history and is currently revising his book, Red Power Rising, for the University of Oklahoma Press.

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