Swift-moving prose along a twisting storyline lends this brilliant book the feel of a mystery.

A BRAVE AND CUNNING PRINCE

THE GREAT CHIEF OPECHANCANOUGH AND THE WAR FOR AMERICA

An accomplished work of scholarly detection that plays out against the background of the English colonization of Virginia.

Opechancanough, the center of Virginia historian Horn’s narrative, was abducted from his Chesapeake Bay homeland by Spanish sailors in the 1550s and taken to Mexico and Spain, where he met King Philip II. Recorded in the Spanish annals as Paquiquineo, a name simplified as Don Luis, he converted to Catholicism and promised to help the Spanish establish a colony on Powhatan lands, the site of a tight confederacy of Native nations. After returning there, however, he organized the massacre of Jesuit priests who had established a mission not far from present-day Richmond. The brother of the king, and in the line of royal succession, Opechancanough then mounted a long war of resistance against the English. Horn ventures two potentially controversial suggestions: first, that Don Luis and Opechancanough were one and the same, since some historians have argued that they were not; and second, that Opechancanough and his elite band of warriors were responsible for the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony, long a matter of historical speculation. He provides convincing evidence for both assertions, building on a portrait of Virginia and its neighbors that, at the time of the European arrival, was the site of a sophisticated political and economic network whose participants were well aware of distant events and who coordinated to fight the newcomers. Some familiar figures appear, including John Smith and Pocahontas, on both of whom Horn sheds new light as players in a drama that would unfold over decades. He portrays Opechancanough as a man who, having seen the subjugation of Native peoples and the enslavement of Africans in Mexico, knew exactly what was coming on those English ships and fought to prevent their successful settlement—which, thanks to both the divisions of the English civil war and Opechancanough’s fierce fighting, almost didn’t happen.

Swift-moving prose along a twisting storyline lends this brilliant book the feel of a mystery.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-465-03890-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A Trump idolator’s dream book. Everyone else should stay far away.

THE CHIEF'S CHIEF

Donald Trump’s former chief of staff serves up servile homage to a man he’s sure will make a comeback bid in 2024.

No president could ask for a more fawning yes man than Meadows. Trump is a genius, a savior, the author avers in this cliché-stuffed, formulaic celebration. He’s a bulwark against what Trump calls “the Radical Left Democrat Communist Party.” That speech he gave at Mount Rushmore, if anyone remembers it? “One of the finest in American history.” Of course, Trump, God’s personal pick, didn’t really lose the 2020 election. When things go wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. For example, Trump appointed Kavanaugh and Gorsuch to the Supreme Court only for them to rule “in ways that were deeply disappointing to the MAGA movement that had made their appointments possible.” Thanks to Pelosi and the Dems, the economy, formerly strong “due to the work of President Trump and his advisors,” tanked during the pandemic. Speaking of which, “had it not been for the China Virus, we could have spent the past months reaching more voters and running up our historic vote totals even higher”—not to mention battling Fauci, Milley, and countless other enemies. If there’s a conspiracy to be found or an enemy to be named, Meadows does so. Sometimes he falls off message, as when he writes of a typical campaign rally, “the energy of these patriots, all united for a common cause, celebrating their prosperity and patriotism in a shared space, is something you can’t describe until you’re in the middle of the crowd with them.” Prosperity or forgotten/downtrodden Americans: You can’t have it both ways. As for the Jan. 6 mob? All Meadows can muster is a pale “what occurred that day was shameful”—with the immediate deflection that a few bad apples spoiled a noble showing of support for their heroic leader.

A Trump idolator’s dream book. Everyone else should stay far away.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73747-852-2

Page Count: 308

Publisher: All Seasons Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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