Eunice Williams was captured in 1704, taken with her father and four other siblings from their home in Deerfield. While the others were released, Eunice was not, and to the horror of her family, eventually joined became a Mohawk, marrying one of them and embracing Catholicism. John Demos has constructed a historically-factual account of her journey, filled with intriguing notes and insights into early colonial and Native American life. 316 pages, softcover.
Nominated for the National Book Award and winner of the Francis Parkman Prize.
The setting for this haunting and encyclopedically researched work of history is colonial Massachusetts, where English Puritans first endeavoured to "civilize" a "savage" native populace. There, in February 1704, a French and Indian war party descended on the village of Deerfield, abducting a Puritan minister and his children. Although John Williams was eventually released, his daughter horrified the family by staying with her captors and marrying a Mohawk husband.
Out of this incident, The Bancroft Prize-winning historian John Devos has constructed a gripping narrative that opens a window into North America where English, French, and Native Americans faced one another across gilfs of culture and belief, and sometimes crossed over.
John Putnam Demos is Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author of A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony and Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England.
"Fascinating and alluring in the way the best writing on history can be."--The Observer
"Powerful and useful. . . .Demos has achieved the kind of balancing act that historians constantly strive for but seldom achieve."--New Republic
"This thought-provoking study explores the multiple communities to which apparently simple people belonged and how their domestic lives were overtaken by political events. Fascinating, lively, and especially timely to an age struggling to understand the implications of its own cross-cultural encounters."--Kirkus
"A masterpiece...recovering for us the poignant story of lives and families shattered and then painfully knitted together again in the complex cultural encounters between English, French, and Mohawk peoples in eighteenth-century America. There is nothing quite like it in our literature. It is a stunning achievement that should change forever the way we write and tell stories about the American past."--William Cronon