Cover: Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain, from Harvard University PressCover: Indian Captive, Indian King in HARDCOVER

Indian Captive, Indian King

Peter Williamson in America and Britain

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$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674976320

Publication Date: 01/15/2018


360 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

22 halftones, 2 maps


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Williamson is a compelling character, but what makes this book so valuable is Shannon’s painstaking, careful analysis as he attempts to separate fact from fiction… This is one of those rare books that will be enjoyed by and serve a variety of readers, including those interested in the British Empire and Atlantic world history.—J. Rankin, Choice

In a feat of historical detection, Shannon has brilliantly reconstructed the life of Peter Williamson, a Scotsman who achieved fame on both sides of the Atlantic for his misadventures and self-promotion. The result is a profound work that has much to tell us about identity and empire during the eighteenth-century.—Frank Cogliano, University of Edinburgh

The compelling story of one man’s remarkable experiences both as a victim of imperial cruelty and as a beneficiary of imperial opportunities, Shannon’s book nicely illustrates the paradoxes of empire for Britons of the eighteenth century. This is a valuable contribution to the history of the British Atlantic world and the experience of empire by people on both sides of the Atlantic.—Brian Cowan, McGill University

Born in poverty, thrust into servitude, and set adrift in the Atlantic, Peter Williamson seemed destined for a short and anonymous life. Against all odds, he achieved modest fame and prosperity and lived to a ripe old age. In this extraordinary book, Shannon painstakingly separates fact from fiction as he reconstructs a life both exemplary and exceptional and illuminates the contours of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world.—Eric Hinderaker, author of Boston’s Massacre

In this masterpiece of historical sleuthing, Shannon reconstructs Peter Williamson’s astounding odyssey throughout the eighteenth-century Atlantic World—a moving and humane portrait of an ordinary person who lived an extraordinary life.—David Preston, author of Braddock’s Defeat

Peter Williamson was an ordinary man who told extraordinary tales—some of them truthful—about his adventures in the eighteenth-century British Empire. Shannon masterfully sorts out the transatlantic tangle of class and race, performance and retribution, that created this fascinating character. Indian Captive, Indian King is must reading for those who want to understand the era.—Daniel K. Richter, author of Before the Revolution: America’s Ancient Pasts

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