This afternoon I was in a pure reading trance, thanks to the Dewey Readathon. I visited a few participants' blogs and left encouraging messages, and then BAM! I read Only Brave Tomorrows by Winifred Bruce Luhrmann, published by Houghton Mifflin, Clarion Books, in 1989, an historical novel set during King Philip's War in 1675-1676 in central Massachusetts.
This Indian war decimated both Indian and English colonist populations, including women and children on both sides. In my history education, including my university and college American history retrospectives, this war and the other Indian wars fought in the 17th- and very early 18th-century in New England were never addressed, never mentioned, and not included in any college text or reading. Yet King Philip's War, in particular, killed many, many more English colonists, percentage-wise, than Americans killed in the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War, or World War II. For the myriad Native American tribes in New England, their tribes were even more heinously slaughtered.
Although Only Brave Tomorrows is no longer in print, I liked it very much: It very clearly depicts the life and struggles of colonists during this era, especially women; and, without histrionics, shows what it was like to live in a village on the frontier and to be the sole survivor of a massacre. Although all the characters are white colonists, I commend the book for showing that not all English colonists wanted to wipe out the native American tribes, and that not all Indians wanted to wipe out the colonists. The story has a great love story within it, and well-researched, interesting, and not overwhelming historical detail.
It is very, very difficult to find historical novels about King Philip's War for young people, no doubt reflecting Americans' confusion about our nation's overall treatment of Native Americans, from 1620 to the present.
The State of the Reading Pile: October
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