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In this narrative history of the Mohawk River Valley and surrounding region from 1713 to 1794, Professor Richard Berleth charts the passage of the valley from a fast-growing agrarian region streaming with colonial traffic to a war-ravaged wasteland. The valley's diverse cultural mix of Iroquois Indians, Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, and Highland Scots play In this narrative history of the Mohawk River Valley and surrounding region from 1713 to 1794, Professor Richard Berleth charts the passage of the valley from a fast-growing agrarian region streaming with colonial traffic to a war-ravaged wasteland. The valley's diverse cultural mix of Iroquois Indians, Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, and Highland Scots played as much of a role as its unique geography in the cataclysmic events of the 1700sthe French and Indian Wars and the battles of the American Revolution. Patriots eventually wrenched the valley from British interests and the Iroquois nations, but at fearsome cost. When the fighting was over, the valley lay in ruins and as much as two-thirds of its population lay dead or had been displaced. But by not holding this vital inland waterwaythe gateway to the West, "the river between the mountains"America might have lost the Revolution, as well as much or all of the then poorly defined province of New York.


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In this narrative history of the Mohawk River Valley and surrounding region from 1713 to 1794, Professor Richard Berleth charts the passage of the valley from a fast-growing agrarian region streaming with colonial traffic to a war-ravaged wasteland. The valley's diverse cultural mix of Iroquois Indians, Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, and Highland Scots play In this narrative history of the Mohawk River Valley and surrounding region from 1713 to 1794, Professor Richard Berleth charts the passage of the valley from a fast-growing agrarian region streaming with colonial traffic to a war-ravaged wasteland. The valley's diverse cultural mix of Iroquois Indians, Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, and Highland Scots played as much of a role as its unique geography in the cataclysmic events of the 1700sthe French and Indian Wars and the battles of the American Revolution. Patriots eventually wrenched the valley from British interests and the Iroquois nations, but at fearsome cost. When the fighting was over, the valley lay in ruins and as much as two-thirds of its population lay dead or had been displaced. But by not holding this vital inland waterwaythe gateway to the West, "the river between the mountains"America might have lost the Revolution, as well as much or all of the then poorly defined province of New York.

30 review for Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    In the front, [Ebenezer] Cox obeyed his general’s orders and formed his companies to fire straight down the road into a swelling mass of attackers. Their first fusillade held back a score of shouting braves. Jacob Dieffendorf, a lieutenant in the 1st, ran a young Indian through with his sword, heard his name called, turned, and was shot in the face by another assailant. George Casler, seeing this, slammed the butt of his musket into the head of the man who had shot the lieutenant and finished hi In the front, [Ebenezer] Cox obeyed his general’s orders and formed his companies to fire straight down the road into a swelling mass of attackers. Their first fusillade held back a score of shouting braves. Jacob Dieffendorf, a lieutenant in the 1st, ran a young Indian through with his sword, heard his name called, turned, and was shot in the face by another assailant. George Casler, seeing this, slammed the butt of his musket into the head of the man who had shot the lieutenant and finished him with a hatchet. As Cox’s men reloaded, they were taken under fire by dozens of Mohawks and Tories who had worked into the deadfall to the north and south of the roadway. Muskets discharged practically in the faces of opponents. Militia who were not cowering in the bloody dirt now thrust out at the ambuscades with bayonets and climbed piles of brush to fall on the enemy with knives and fists… - Richard Berleth, Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York’s Frontier I’ve struggled a bit to best describe my feelings for this book. I suppose the best – yes, the best – way is by analogy. Richard Berleth’s Bloody Mohawk can only be compared to a pizza dinner that has been prepared and served by a pug wearing a tuxedo. At first blush, this situation has all the hallmarks of a perfect meal. Pizza. A dog dressed like a person. It’s almost can’t miss. But then you realize the pizza has a crust that is a bit undercooked, and not enough cheese, and it tastes a little bit like a paw. You start to get disappointed. But you think a little harder, and come to the realization that pizza is almost always edible, and besides, it was just served to you by a pug. In a tuxedo. (It should be noted, I am terrible at analogies). To explain my analogy a bit further (as though that’s necessary!), the subject of Bloody Mohawk – the French & Indian War and the American Revolution in New York’s Mohawk Valley – is almost impossible to screw up. It is imbued with fascinating characters, dime-novel adventure, and Shakespearian threads of revenge and betrayal. However, while reading Bloody Mohawk, I kept getting the nagging sensation that things weren’t coming together right. All the ingredients were present, but they had not cohered. Halfway through, I thought I was disappointed. At the end, though, after a little reflection, I decided I wasn’t as unhappy as I’d earlier thought. Bloody Mohawk is divided into two sections. The first deals with the New York frontier generally, and the Mohawk Valley specifically, during the time of the French & Indian War. The second half covers the time period of the American Revolution. As Berleth explains early on, the geography of the Mohawk Valley gave it strategic importance in the event of a war. In the years before the Erie Canal, the Mohawk was the main inland artery connecting the shores of Lake Superior with eastern civilization. For decades, control over the Valley was closely linked to control over the North American continent. The French & Indian War section is the more problematic of the two. The issue, I think, is contextual and chronological. It is never made clear how the Mohawk Valley fit into the larger scope of war. Moreover, Berleth does a poor job setting up a timeline. He leaps from one event to another and moves back and forth in time, without ever explaining the simple causality of war, how one event led to another and to another. (This might not be an issue if you are already grounded in the French & Indian War/Seven Years’ War). Frankly put, the French & Indian War chapters are a muddle. The paradigmatic example, in my opinion, is Berleth’s treatment of Fort William Henry. This massacre – made famous by James Fennimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans – is advertised by name on the back cover. Its inclusion, in fact, is the reason I first came upon and purchased this book. Thus, it was frustrating (to say the least) to discover that Berleth cursorily dispenses with this battle in two pages. And unfortunately, they were not helpful pages. I don’t know why this part of the book is so confused and bad. It doesn’t have to be. At other places, Berleth shows a grasp of the material and an ability to form a coherent narrative. For instance, he does a creditable job describing the so-called Bloody Morning Scout and the Battle of Lake George, where Sir William Johnsons’ rag-tag army stumbled into and fought their way out of an ambush planned by Baron Jean-Armand de Dieskau. This chapter, at least, takes into account the fundamental elements of military history (the players, the strategy, the tactics and the execution) that are lacking elsewhere. (Part of the solution may be in the scope of the material versus the size of this book. Bloody Mohawk is just over 300 pages of text, which is simply not enough to contain the epic events that are covered). The second half of Bloody Mohawk is quite a bit better than the first, which is not meant to damn with faint praise. Even here, the book still suffers from a lack of focus and an inability to decide what events are important and deserving of amplification, and which are not. It can get a little maddening. For example, Berleth continually mentions the Battle of Saratoga, one of the great colonial victories of the Revolution, which took place in New York. Yet he never takes the time to write about, you know, what happened at Saratoga. Sure, if you are taking the title literally, the battle did not take place in the Mohawk Valley. But Berleth himself isn’t abiding by any such boundaries, as he devotes space elsewhere to the Wyoming Valley Massacre and the Braddock Massacre, which both took place in present-day Pennsylvania. The main reason why the Revolutionary War section succeeds at all is that Berleth recognizes the set-piece potential of the Battle of Oriskany. Oriskany was one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution. A column of colonial militiamen, under the command of General Nicholas Herkimer, were marching to the relief of Fort Stanwix, which was under siege. Herkimer’s men ran into an ambush of Iroquois warriors, Tory rangers, and German light infantry, under the command of Barry St. Leger. The ensuing battle, among the trees, at close range, often hand-to-hand, pitted neighbor against neighbor, in what more approximated civil war than a war for independence. Only a fortuitous thunderstorm, which caused a break in the fighting and allowed a mortally-wounded Herkimer to regroup, saved the colonial detachment. Berleth has no problem managing the inherent drama and confusion of this encounter, as he demonstrates with the excerpt I quoted above. The battle of Oriskany is the high point of Bloody Mohawk. After it, the punitive Sullivan Expedition (a genocidal excursion ordered by George Washington to erase the Iroquois) and the vicious Cherry Valley Massacre seem anticlimactic. Part of the reason they seem anticlimactic is that these stories have been told elsewhere, better. To be fair to Berleth, he never set out to reinvent the wheel. He is very upfront about his purposes (a narrative history of the Mohawk Valley) and his limitations (namely, exchanging detail for a sweeping scope). He is not a historian, and he relies heavily on secondary sources. Indeed, he openly directs his readers to the bibliography section, in order to track down sources offering greater detail. My problem with this, however, is that it seems to undercut any arguments in favor of the book’s existence. By sacrificing detail and analysis on the altar of “sweep,” you aren’t left with much substance. I find it hard to recommend this book when you can find everything in it – and much, much more – in other, better books. Still, after all that complaining, I come back round to the fact that I didn't hate Bloody Mohawk. I can’t hate compelling history told by a passionate author any more than I could hate pizza served by a pug. At the very least, it tantalizes you with all the thousands of stories that exist from those fraught years in the Mohawk Valley. And it points you in the right direction if you want to find out more about them, which you will. It’ll get you interested in battles and massacres and raids and escapes you might never have heard about before. It might even tempt you to pull an old copy of Drums Along the Mohawk down off the shelf, put on something flannel, find a comfy chair, and pour yourself a scotch (which I assume pairs well with semi-dated historical fiction). In other words, when you’re dealing with history like this, there is no such thing as bad, just varying degrees of good.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    A well written history of the Mohawk Valley during the Colonial and Revolutionary periods when it was a critical strategic location. Richard Berleth chooses his topics wisely and writes engagingly about why the Valley was so important and how major invasions, first by the French and 20 years later, by the English were defeated, saving the New York Colony. And he details the cost and sacrifice involved with as much as 2/3rd of the population dead or fled from the Valley. The Battle of Oriskany wa A well written history of the Mohawk Valley during the Colonial and Revolutionary periods when it was a critical strategic location. Richard Berleth chooses his topics wisely and writes engagingly about why the Valley was so important and how major invasions, first by the French and 20 years later, by the English were defeated, saving the New York Colony. And he details the cost and sacrifice involved with as much as 2/3rd of the population dead or fled from the Valley. The Battle of Oriskany was the bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary war and decimated the male population of military age. Subsequent attacks of what in many ways, was a civil war, destroyed much of theremaining settlements. He also discusses how politics, diversity and ethnic issues affected an area populated by Dutch, Germans, English, Scots-Irish, and native Americans. I recommend reading this book if you are interested in understanding the 18th Century history of the Mohawk Valley, are interested in military or United States history, or simply want to read a very well written and a well-told story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Hulser

    Terrific take on geography as history, roams through what the glaciers did, following rivers and lakes through upstate New York, Quebec, Ontario, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to probe conflict in the 18th century. I especially appreciate the way Berleth focuses on local meanings. You understand that it is not the monolithic British administration in play, but rather Sir William Johnson and his minions; not a big lump of Indians, but actual Mohawks, Oneidas and others; not colonials i Terrific take on geography as history, roams through what the glaciers did, following rivers and lakes through upstate New York, Quebec, Ontario, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to probe conflict in the 18th century. I especially appreciate the way Berleth focuses on local meanings. You understand that it is not the monolithic British administration in play, but rather Sir William Johnson and his minions; not a big lump of Indians, but actual Mohawks, Oneidas and others; not colonials in general but Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, irascible farmers and unassimilated Dutch. His readings of first hand accounts revive long-forgotten words from such worthies as Conrad Weiser and the Rev. Samuel Kirkland. The missionary Kirkland had a close shave indeed when his conversion efforts were interpreted instead as the beginning of a run of local bad luck -- what's startling is how modern his words from his journal about this near-death experience are.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Maulucci

    awesome book. very detailed and intricate history of upstate New York during the revolutionary period. the book deals mainly with the relationship of the Indians with the loyalists or the militia. Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, Iroquois, tuscarora, Onondaga...I loved the book telling the history of a state that I have zig zagged and lived in for 20 years. Onondaga (syracuse), cobleskill, Schenectady, cherry valley...the raids, the savagery, the valor. I thoroughly enjoyed this tough read about beautifu awesome book. very detailed and intricate history of upstate New York during the revolutionary period. the book deals mainly with the relationship of the Indians with the loyalists or the militia. Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, Iroquois, tuscarora, Onondaga...I loved the book telling the history of a state that I have zig zagged and lived in for 20 years. Onondaga (syracuse), cobleskill, Schenectady, cherry valley...the raids, the savagery, the valor. I thoroughly enjoyed this tough read about beautiful upstate New York and its revolutionary history. two thumbs up! recommended for die hard historians of the revolutionary war.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    A thorough account of the relationship between the Native Americans, Loyalists, and Patriots in New York State during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Serves as another reminder of the disservice our nation did the Native Americans after enlisting their help to defeat the British. As a resident of Upstate NY I enjoyed the local history the book provided.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Let’s see, growing up in NYS amidst the settings of this historic rendition, I found interest in my own visits to those locations. But, unfortunately I was transported back to 7th grade American History class, doing whatever I could to remain awake.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve Smits

    The history of 18th century conflicts in and near the Mohawk Valley is of special interest to me as our family's home is on the northern reaches of the Mohawk River in upstate New York; one can wade across it from behind our home. The house in which we live was built in 1795 by early settlers with a major expansion in the Federal style in 1812. Our town, established in 1798, is eight miles north along the river from Fort Stanwix in Rome, N.Y. The river flows southward from Northern New York and The history of 18th century conflicts in and near the Mohawk Valley is of special interest to me as our family's home is on the northern reaches of the Mohawk River in upstate New York; one can wade across it from behind our home. The house in which we live was built in 1795 by early settlers with a major expansion in the Federal style in 1812. Our town, established in 1798, is eight miles north along the river from Fort Stanwix in Rome, N.Y. The river flows southward from Northern New York and shifts eastward in Rome where it becomes a major arterial toward the Hudson Valley. The Oneida Indians are our neighbors on a small reservation twenty miles to the west. The Oneidas were one of the tribes of the Iroquois confederation that played a highly significant role in the war in the valley. (The Oneidas in the past few decades successfully litigated land claims stemming from the violation of the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua; they parlayed their claims into a massive casino and resort complex, the first in New York State.) The names of the pioneers noted in the book are still heard today among descendants or place names: Helmer, Bellinger, Herkimer, Gansevoort and Willet. The prewar settlers in the Mohawk Valley were markedly different from the Dutch who populated the Hudson Valley to Albany and Schenectady in the 17th and 18th centuries. These newer arrivals were English, Irish and Scotch-Irish and German Palatines. Three of the most influential Europeans from mid-century through the war years were Sir William Johnson, Philip Schuyler and Nicholas Herkimer. Johnson as a young Irishman came to the valley to manage an estate owned by his uncle. Schuyler was from Dutch lineage who clustered in the Hudson Valley, Albany and surrounding environs. Herkimer was one of the Palatine Germans who, fleeing religious persecution, ended up settling in the rich farm lands of the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys. A fourth person who figured large in the conflict was Thayendanegea, also known as Joseph Brandt, a leader of the Mohawks. Johnson was a veteran of the French & Indian War whose renown for his defense at Lake George, resulted in a baronetcy granted by King George III. Johnson parlayed land deals into a large fortune. He was adroit in establishing relationships with the Iroquois, especially benefiting from trade with them, mainly in furs. Johnson was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs for the northern region of the New York colony. Johnson was unquestionably the most influential representative of the crown in the western reaches of the colonies. (His estate located in Johnstown is well-maintained by New York State.) Although Johnson died in 1774 his children, relatives and allies were leaders of the Tory resistance in the Revolutionary War in the valley. Schuyler had a mansion in Albany and maintained a second home in Schuylerville near Saratoga. General Schuyler would lead the organized efforts of patriots against the crown's forces in northern and western New York. Herkimer was likewise a wealthy man, making his fortune in land and trading at the westernmost settlement along the river. His home near the Little Falls carry provided a lucrative trade with those bringing goods to and from the more westerly settlements along the river. He was the acknowledged leader of the Palatines and commanded the Tryon County militia in its defense of the region, most notably at the Battle of Oriskany. Brandt was a remarkable leader. He was close to Johnson who provided him with an education at a Massachusetts school. Brandt had been to England and had an audience with the King. Brandt will cause considerable havoc to rebels across the Valley throughout the war. Brandt's sister, Molly, was Johnson's common law wife and, as we will see, played a critical role in the Battle of Oriskany. Brandt was influential in decisions made by the Iroquois tribes in their alignment with the opposing powers. The Mohawks, Senecas and Cayugas supported the English and Tories. The Onondagas sought to remain neutral and the Oneidas and Tuscaroras sided with the Americans. As we will describe later, the war brought about the end of the confederation and the downward slide of the once-great Six Nations. The inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley were deeply split over the break from England. General lines of division can be seen -- the Palatines, Dutch and Oneidas/Tuscaroras for the rebels and the English, Mohawks (and Cayugas and Senecas further west) supporting the crown. The Onondagas at the heart of the Iroquois nation sought to remain neutral. The Iroquois tribes allied with the British out of loyalty to John Johnson, the late William's son and from the belief that English control would stem the continual westward encroachment on their lands. Notwithstanding these broad categories, personal affiliations of individuals were highly mixed, i.e. neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. (General Herkimer's brother was a Tory supporter.) When one thinks of the Revolutionary War as an international struggle between nations one loses sight of this conflict as a civil war on American soil. The fractures between the region's residents produced viscous fighting and long-lasting bitterness. Much of the conflict in the valley was in the form of raids, sometimes large in scale like the Stone Arabia raid of 1780 and the foray against the village of Cherry Valley. The Sullivan-Clinton campaign against the Cayugas and Senecas wrought significant destruction to their villages in the Finger Lakes region. To denote these as raids not battles understates how bloody they were; the action against Cherry Valley is rightly called a massacre. Beyond the organized raids were numerous attacks against individual homesteads across the valley. What made the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys so critical to the American war effort was its productive farm land. Washington once said that the loss of Mohawk Valley crops would cripple his army. The siege of Fort Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany aimed at relieving the siege were the most significant large scale battles of the region. Fort Stanwix is located at the westward passable end of the Mohawk River. A one-mile portage (the "Great Carry") from there to Wood Creek opened up passage to Lake Ontario and further westward; this made the locale strategically vital. The Americans under Col. Gansevoort reoccupied a fallen-down French & Indian War fort securing this critical spot. The British under St. Leger intended to capture the fort so that St. Leger could move down the valley to hook up at Saratoga with Burgoyne advancing from the north and Howe coming up the Hudson Valley. If successful this could sever New York from New England, a devastating outcome for the rebel cause. Renovations strengthening the fort were just in time to gird for St. Leger's siege. Hearing of the assault on the fort, Herkimer mustered the Tryon County militia to march from the present day village of Herkimer to attack the British from the rear. Molly Brandt, residing in present day Canajoharie, got wind of the plan and tipped off the British. The British with strong support from Joseph Brandt's Mohawks ambushed Herkimer's force of 800 militiamen and Oneidas in a wooded ravine in Oriskany about six miles from Fort Stanwix. The militia were totally surprised and a bloody, chaotic fight ensured. The battle is thought to have resulted in the greatest number of American casualties by percentage of troops engaged in any Revolutionary War battle. Both sides withdrew from the field and Herkimer later died of wounds sustained there. While the British soldiers and Indians were away dealing with Herkimer at Oriskany Gansevoort's complement parried from the fort and ravaged the loosely-guarded Indian encampments looting large quantities of their possessions and implements. This greatly discouraged the Indians who on discovering this broke camp and departed. With even fewer in his ranks and the fort handily withstanding the Redcoat artillery barrage, St. Leger realized the futility of his campaign and retreated west to Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario. (An American force under Gen. Benedict Arnold was dispatched from Saratoga to relieve the fort, but arrived after St. Leger's retreat.) How decisive St. Leger's failure to link up with Burgoyne at Saratoga in the American victory there is a matter of speculation, but certainly the American's victory at Fort Stanwix that denied him his aims had some impact. Throughout 1780 and as far forward as 1783 there were sporadic engagements between raiding Tory forces and America patriots throughout the the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys. Perhaps underappreciated in comparison with the major campaigns of Washington and Greene in the mid-Atlantic and South, the war in the Mohawk Valley was unquestionably of major significance in the history of the war. Rancor did not end with the cessation of hostilities. Tories were harassed often through the expropriation of their land; many relocated to Canada. The conflict destroyed the once-mighty Iroquois confederation and lands occupied by the nation's tribes were swallowed up by advancing settlers in just a few decades.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joy Wilson

    In the US we are all taught about the revolutionary war; however, I knew nothing about the portion of the war that took place in the northern sphere. I found out about the battle on the Plains of Abraham while vacationing in Montreal and Quebec City. This period of history is often quickly discussed and then passed up for the more sexy Civil war. This book is well composed and well-written as the stories of the people who lived, settled, and died in the Mohawk River valley. Berleth does an excel In the US we are all taught about the revolutionary war; however, I knew nothing about the portion of the war that took place in the northern sphere. I found out about the battle on the Plains of Abraham while vacationing in Montreal and Quebec City. This period of history is often quickly discussed and then passed up for the more sexy Civil war. This book is well composed and well-written as the stories of the people who lived, settled, and died in the Mohawk River valley. Berleth does an excellent job of describing the people and their reasons for being on the frontier. He also describes with clarity relationships among European and Native Americans and the meaning of civilization. The Iroquois League was a remarkable system of government and commerce. It covered millions of miles of territory and was able to adjust for a while to the incursion by European settlers. Anyone who is interested in early American history would do well to read this book and learn more about the war in the northern regions of New York, Vermont, and the Great Lakes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    A great book, offering a history of the 18th Century conflicts in upstate New York which defined the future of both NY and the United States. The story follows a number of key characters, native and newly arrived, loyalist and American, farmer and merchant as they participated in the slow development of New York from the country of the Iroquois to the American state. Starting with the first clashes between Dutch/English colonists and French traders early in the 1700s and ending with the major ca A great book, offering a history of the 18th Century conflicts in upstate New York which defined the future of both NY and the United States. The story follows a number of key characters, native and newly arrived, loyalist and American, farmer and merchant as they participated in the slow development of New York from the country of the Iroquois to the American state. Starting with the first clashes between Dutch/English colonists and French traders early in the 1700s and ending with the major campaigns of the later Revolutionary war, the book covers the fluctuating trends of conflicts and peace. As implied by the title this was not a peaceful endeavor. The Mohawk River, the only eastern river which efficiently pierces the Appalachian mountain chain, is the central location for the story. It provided both the transportation hub so necessary for the Iroquois Empire’s trading power and the rich farmlands which beckoned a wide range of European immigrants. The nature of most of the fighting, especially in periods between the major campaigns, was really a Civil War in these intertwined communities. This trend held true for the European immigrants and also the Iroquois tribes and clans, torn by economic necessity, family loyalties, and the threat of violence. This book was especially personal for me, many of the locations discussed are in and around the area I grew up in. It certainly is a case of being impressed by the history under your feet. Highly recommended for those wanting to know more about New York State history and the steady change which typifies the clash between different economic systems.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nick Crisanti

    Having lived my entire life in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, I have come across many a blue and yellow historical marker, but the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition markers have been the most interesting to me. Mainly because I love reading about the American Revolution, but also because the campaign traveled so close to my hometown on the northern tip of Seneca Lake. So I was very excited to start reading this book, which contains an account of that expedition, but also the historical eve Having lived my entire life in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, I have come across many a blue and yellow historical marker, but the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition markers have been the most interesting to me. Mainly because I love reading about the American Revolution, but also because the campaign traveled so close to my hometown on the northern tip of Seneca Lake. So I was very excited to start reading this book, which contains an account of that expedition, but also the historical events of the Mohawk River Valley during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. The entire book was very informative, if not to say eye-opening, but the second part was much better written and presented than the first. The most frustrating thing was the author's design of relating something that happened, seemingly out of nowhere, and then explaining the events that led to that something. This isn't a novel that needs foreshadowing or the like, this is a history book that, I think most people would agree, is more pleasing to digest when its events are told chronologically. Other than thinking I missed something, or was asleep during a character introduction, I found the author's writing engaging and the topics he covered to be detailed and significant. He's obviously done his research on this section of New York State, especially its Native American inhabitants and its original settlers, and it's clear his passion lies in relating its stories. Recommended for residents of New York, who will undoubtedly recognize the names of towns and people, and for American Revolution buffs who want to know what was happening on the frontiers of Upstate New York.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I just happened to read this after Russell Shorto's "Island at the Center of the World", and it is a perfect companion book to see what happened next. As the title says, "BloodyMohawk", goes through the trials of the Mohawk Valley through the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. I live in this area and always thought that I was aware of the history. This book was so much more than just filling in the spaces for me. Besides history, Berleth analyzes the social, political and personal I just happened to read this after Russell Shorto's "Island at the Center of the World", and it is a perfect companion book to see what happened next. As the title says, "BloodyMohawk", goes through the trials of the Mohawk Valley through the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. I live in this area and always thought that I was aware of the history. This book was so much more than just filling in the spaces for me. Besides history, Berleth analyzes the social, political and personal impact that events here had on American history. What happened in the Mohawk and Champlain Valleys was brutal, bloody, intense, tragic and compelling to our story and that of the Iroquois.I have a new respect for the early settlers of the New York frontier and appreciation for the horrors that they and the Iroquois endured. For us, it was the birth of a nation. For the Iroquois, it was the beginning of the end of theirs. I highly recommend this as an important read for a little known but incredibly important part of American history and Native American studies.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Riordan

    Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York’s Frontier by Richard j. Berleth is an overview of the history of the Mohawk River Valley. It starts by describing the colonial era and the relationship between the colonists and the Iroquois. It chronicles the bloody history of the valley during both wars. It also presents the American Revolution not only as a war between the Americans and British but also as a civil war between the Iroquois tribes. I picked this book up Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York’s Frontier by Richard j. Berleth is an overview of the history of the Mohawk River Valley. It starts by describing the colonial era and the relationship between the colonists and the Iroquois. It chronicles the bloody history of the valley during both wars. It also presents the American Revolution not only as a war between the Americans and British but also as a civil war between the Iroquois tribes. I picked this book up when I was in Rome, New York. I was wandering around and found Ft. Stanwix. After exploring the fort and museum I found this book in the gift shop. I’m glad I decided to pick it up because it gave me a much better understanding of the region and both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. I appreciated his focus on individuals as that helped make the narrative more relatable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lunger

    With "Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier", Richard Berleth gives we the reader a look at this history of the Mohawk Valley & the ways that this part of the Empire state would shape the future of both New York as well as the US. Each step of the way across this period of about 30 years the stories of the people who settled the state as well as the Native Americans are revealed along with just how intertwined this particular river valley would be With "Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York's Frontier", Richard Berleth gives we the reader a look at this history of the Mohawk Valley & the ways that this part of the Empire state would shape the future of both New York as well as the US. Each step of the way across this period of about 30 years the stories of the people who settled the state as well as the Native Americans are revealed along with just how intertwined this particular river valley would be to the successes & failures of the British in the French & Indian War as well as the colonials in the American Revoluton. Berleth's book is a fascinating read for anyone with a love of history & for this reader a lack of knowledge of the Empire State & is one I'd absolutely recommend for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge of this period of early American history.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Family ties and an interest in history led me to this book. I knew of Ft William Henry, Ft Edward, and the Battle of Bennington. I always smiled seeing the sign announcing Whitehall (Skenesboro) as the birthplace of the US Navy. Reading the story behind the Battle of Valcour Island, and the subsequent burning of the American fleet had me captivated. I knew of the Battle of Oriskany; what happened there was something I didn't know. But most impressive to me was what the author said about the vari Family ties and an interest in history led me to this book. I knew of Ft William Henry, Ft Edward, and the Battle of Bennington. I always smiled seeing the sign announcing Whitehall (Skenesboro) as the birthplace of the US Navy. Reading the story behind the Battle of Valcour Island, and the subsequent burning of the American fleet had me captivated. I knew of the Battle of Oriskany; what happened there was something I didn't know. But most impressive to me was what the author said about the various Native American tribes, especially the Iroquois League. I enjoyed learning the differences between them, as well as their varying alliances. A very informative book for anyone interested in colonial America.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bap

    This is the story of the frontier in upstate New York where the Iroquois confederation vied with the French to the north, the avaricious Dutch to the south replaced by the restless British and German Palantine emigrees. For fifty years, the Iroquois were the dominant force by their diplomatic skills and fighting prowess but they were doomed. Ultimately they backed the wrong side and got caught up in the revolutionary war which in upstate NY was a brutal civil war with Tories fighting Patriots an This is the story of the frontier in upstate New York where the Iroquois confederation vied with the French to the north, the avaricious Dutch to the south replaced by the restless British and German Palantine emigrees. For fifty years, the Iroquois were the dominant force by their diplomatic skills and fighting prowess but they were doomed. Ultimately they backed the wrong side and got caught up in the revolutionary war which in upstate NY was a brutal civil war with Tories fighting Patriots and the Iroquois confederation split asunder. This book is an excellent account of a tragic era.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    I am not really a reader of battles but this one caught my interest as the "patriarch" of our family was scalped on May 22, 1780 in Fonda, New York. This book gave me a sense of the history leading up to this event and why and how it might have happened, despite the lore that he was a "close personal friend" of William Johnson, and had always been on good terms with the Indians. A lot of terrible things happened in those years on all sides. The Fonda have survived... the Natives haven't fared as I am not really a reader of battles but this one caught my interest as the "patriarch" of our family was scalped on May 22, 1780 in Fonda, New York. This book gave me a sense of the history leading up to this event and why and how it might have happened, despite the lore that he was a "close personal friend" of William Johnson, and had always been on good terms with the Indians. A lot of terrible things happened in those years on all sides. The Fonda have survived... the Natives haven't fared as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Walsh

    Very detailed story about the civil war between the Tories and their Indian allies and Patriots and their Indian allies in NY state. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about the American Revolution. Also learned much about the politics and infighting during the revolution. The anger and mental anguish the Iroquois People went through as the way of life and culture was being destroyed helped me understand the problems in the Middle East. The destruction in the Mohawk Val Very detailed story about the civil war between the Tories and their Indian allies and Patriots and their Indian allies in NY state. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about the American Revolution. Also learned much about the politics and infighting during the revolution. The anger and mental anguish the Iroquois People went through as the way of life and culture was being destroyed helped me understand the problems in the Middle East. The destruction in the Mohawk Valley in lives and property were enormous.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joe Walker

    Riveting tale about a little known place and period in the American Revolution, a civil war / counterinsurgency involving English, French, Tories, Patriots, Uniformed Soldiers, militia, rangers, paramilitaries, criminals, murderers, 6 Native American tribes, 6-7 major European ethnicities and 6 or 7 languages. Includes the bloddiest battle of the War. All played out in a brutal and beautiful wilderness. Probably the book to read before re-reading "The Last Of The Mohicans" or watching Jimmy Stewa Riveting tale about a little known place and period in the American Revolution, a civil war / counterinsurgency involving English, French, Tories, Patriots, Uniformed Soldiers, militia, rangers, paramilitaries, criminals, murderers, 6 Native American tribes, 6-7 major European ethnicities and 6 or 7 languages. Includes the bloddiest battle of the War. All played out in a brutal and beautiful wilderness. Probably the book to read before re-reading "The Last Of The Mohicans" or watching Jimmy Stewart in Drums Along The Mohawk.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dstuffle

    I am the descendant of German Palatines who migrated to the Mohawk Valley of New York in the 1700s and I have a Great X5 Grandfather who fought in the Colonial Army during the American Revolution. This is the very area and stories of the times that he lived. The name Stopplebien was not mentioned, in this book, but every mention of the German Palatines, made me imagine how I would have felt because my ancestors were there and lived through these events.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lewandowski

    This was my second try getting through this book. I finally skipped the chapters about the missionaries and once I got back into it, it was extremely good reading. The Mohawk Valley was a repeated target of the Tories and their Indian allies. Learned some new info since I have read other books on the same subject, both fiction and nonfiction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pierce

    Excellent story and an amazing factual history of the region. It was an academic struggle to keep tabs on all the names of various people and geographical locations. You will need to concentrate while reading this book. It is not light reading that can be rapidly skimmed with other distractions around you .

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Cuatt

    I grew up in the Mohawk Valley but a great deal of the information in this book was new to me. Lots of details regarding not just battles, but also about the waves of immigration, spread of religion, and the plight of the valley's native inhabitants (Iroquois). This book will be of interest to anyone studying 18th Century America, but especially for someone with roots in the area like myself I grew up in the Mohawk Valley but a great deal of the information in this book was new to me. Lots of details regarding not just battles, but also about the waves of immigration, spread of religion, and the plight of the valley's native inhabitants (Iroquois). This book will be of interest to anyone studying 18th Century America, but especially for someone with roots in the area like myself

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Insightful, and wonderfully laid out with the French and Indian War in the first half, and the Revolution in the second half. Stories are intertwined within the pages that give the reader a peak into the lives of the people and the natives during the colonial America.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Panzagl

    Good narrative centered on the Mohawk Valley. There is much more detail given on events during the American Revolution than the French and Indian War, to the point where if you're primary interest is the latter you can give the book a miss. Good narrative centered on the Mohawk Valley. There is much more detail given on events during the American Revolution than the French and Indian War, to the point where if you're primary interest is the latter you can give the book a miss.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gus Kappler

    A must-read to better understand the importance of a secure Mohawk Valley in preventing the British from invading NY and dividing the colonies in half.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I really enjoyed this book. Berleth's sweeping history of the Mohawk river valley is engrossing - the story picks up where the English have already come and taken over from the Dutch, who are snooty old money at this point, and the people of the long house have an uneasy co-existance with the white settlers, supplying them with pelts in return for manufactured goods. The book follows the sweep of events until at the end, the confederation of the native peoples is ripped apart in the extremely bl I really enjoyed this book. Berleth's sweeping history of the Mohawk river valley is engrossing - the story picks up where the English have already come and taken over from the Dutch, who are snooty old money at this point, and the people of the long house have an uneasy co-existance with the white settlers, supplying them with pelts in return for manufactured goods. The book follows the sweep of events until at the end, the confederation of the native peoples is ripped apart in the extremely bloody and personal conflict of the Revolutionary War (spoiler alert). My only word of warning here is that "Bloody Mohawk" really isn't kidding. During the first half of the book it's not too bad, but by the time the Revolutionary War starts, it's a mercy when people are just getting shot point-blank in the face with muskets and not getting scalped while still alive or hung with their own entrails. If you can deal with the depressing and frankly astonishing amount of blood shed in the second half, you won't want to miss this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I liked it alot. It brought to life incidents I was familiar with, and tied them together with an historical overview that I hadn't previously had. I've visited many of the sites discussed, such as Newtown battlefield, Johnson Hall, Albany, etc., but this narrative definitely put it into a clearer perspective. I liked it alot. It brought to life incidents I was familiar with, and tied them together with an historical overview that I hadn't previously had. I've visited many of the sites discussed, such as Newtown battlefield, Johnson Hall, Albany, etc., but this narrative definitely put it into a clearer perspective.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    This the first book I have read that details the native Americans' role in the war. Other, more well known books gloss over the subject when in fact it was a major part of the revolution. My only problem reading it was that the timeline jumped around somewhat and I had difficulty keeping up with the characters. This was overall, a very good book. This the first book I have read that details the native Americans' role in the war. Other, more well known books gloss over the subject when in fact it was a major part of the revolution. My only problem reading it was that the timeline jumped around somewhat and I had difficulty keeping up with the characters. This was overall, a very good book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Uneven. When it is good, it is very very good.... Of course I live in the Mohawk Valley, in what was then called German Flats. William Johnson has fascinated me for decades. Of course I am going to enjoy and be picky with this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm starting over again because the last time I picked up this book was in 2010... And I have a better attention span now. hahahah I'm starting over again because the last time I picked up this book was in 2010... And I have a better attention span now. hahahah

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