A gripping account of the violence and turmoil that engulfed England’s fledgling colonies and the crucial role played by Native Americans in determining the future of North America.
In 1675, eastern North America descended into chaos. Virginia exploded into civil war, as rebel colonists decried the corruption of planter oligarchs and massacred allied Indians. Maryland colonists, gripped by fears that Catholics were conspiring with enemy Indians, rose up against their rulers. Separatist movements and ethnic riots swept through New York and New Jersey. Dissidents in northern Carolina launched a revolution, proclaiming themselves independent of any authority but their own. English America teetered on the edge of anarchy.
Though seemingly distinct, these conflicts were in fact connected through the Susquehannock Indians, a once-mighty nation reduced to a small remnant. Forced to scatter by colonial militia, Susquehannock bands called upon connections with Indigenous nations from the Great Lakes to the Deep South, mobilizing sources of power that colonists could barely perceive, much less understand. Although the Susquehannock nation seemed weak and divided, it exercised influence wildly disproportionate to its size, often tipping settler societies into chaos. Colonial anarchy was intertwined with Indigenous power.
Piecing together Susquehannock strategies from a wide range of archival documents and material evidence, Matthew Kruer shows how one people’s struggle for survival and renewal changed the shape of eastern North America. Susquehannock actions rocked the foundations of the fledging English territories, forcing colonial societies and governments to respond. Time of Anarchy recasts our understanding of the late seventeenth century and places Indigenous power at the heart of the story.
An eye-opening account of an obscure chapter in colonial American history.
Time of Anarchy is a fine work of historical scholarship. Outstanding research and evocative writing bring this important history to life.
Remarkable…Kruer brings a rare sense of historical empathy to all actors without minimizing the horrid levels of indiscriminate destruction and loss experienced by all. Combining nuances and engaging style, this book will remain a reference for years to come.
In his well-organized story on Indigenous power, Kruer solidly argues for the strength and persistence of the Susquehannock with captivating precision and careful detail to source-driven narratives…brings a new perspective to the colonial crises of the late seventeenth century.
Kruer tells the fascinating and necessary narrative of the Susquehannock people at the end of the seventeenth century. His work and its underlying archive in this regard will be of great importance and interest.
Flowing with insights and executed with skill, Time of Anarchy rearranges conventional understandings of seventeenth-century Anglo–Indian relations. Examining the fateful ‘revolution’ in Anglo–Indian affairs during the 1670s, it upends paradigms of Indigenous victimization, uncovers surprising degrees of Susquehannock power, and challenges normative assumptions about racial formation in the Chesapeake. A remarkable work of recovery, Time of Anarchy compels a major re-periodization of early American history, one in which the currents of race, power, and colonialism follow much less familiar and determined paths.
Time of Anarchy is a brilliant book on the Susquehannock Indians and their creative and bold maneuvering among North America’s colonial powers. But the book is also an incisive account of colonial tactics and expansion, making it quite extraordinary: we have rarely seen such measured balance in writing early American history. The book is filled with insights and historiographical interventions, but Matthew Kruer introduces them to us surreptitiously with elegant and compelling prose.
Mixing exquisite historical detail with brilliant analysis, Matthew Kruer remaps colonial North America, locating a small Native nation—the Susquehannocks—at the very center of a continental world of imperial conflict. Time of Anarchy makes a bold and provocative intervention into early American history. Our understanding of Indigenous power will never be the same.
In a blood-soaked time of war and chaos in the seventeenth-century Chesapeake, the Susquehannocks emerged as a powerful nation. Matthew Kruer tells their compelling story with grace and insight, managing to make new a history often considered well-worn. Here was a ‘time of anarchy’ that unleashed astonishing and novel orders, both indigenous and colonial. This era will never look the same again.
In these pages we see the hand of a careful ethnohistorian, a thoughtful political theorist, an archival political historian, a theoretically-sophisticated scholar of affect, and an engaging stylist. Time of Anarchy has the narrative feel of masterful old history but carries the theoretical heft of contemporary scholarship.
Time of Anarchy will have a significant impact on our understanding of early American and Native American history. Kruer’s fusion of the histories of emotion and of gender helps to resolve some truly mysterious features of this critical period, and his compelling analysis of the power of threatened masculinity and conspiracy theories make this very much a book for our own time.
- 352 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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