Book Reviews of The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America

The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America
The Unredeemed Captive A Family Story from Early America
Author: John Putnam Demos
ISBN-13: 9780394557823
ISBN-10: 0394557824
Publication Date: 3/29/1994
Pages: 315
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 9 ratings
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

5 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This book is fascinating! It is the story of European/American settlers taken captive by American Indians during raids, and they way those "prisoners" were integrated into the life of the tribe. In many cases, the "prisoners" did not want to leave the tribe when they were finally given the chance. The book weaves together a wide variety of stories, each with a differenct perspective. I hope you enjoy it!
reviewed The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America on + 350 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
From Publishers Weekly
The armed conflicts of the 18th century between the English colonies in North America and the French settlements that stretched into Canada were fought with the support of Native American allies. Demos, a Yale history professor ( Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England ), draws on primary source material to provide a perceptive analysis of the cultural encounters that occurred between combatants by detailing the experiences of the John Williams family. Williams, a Puritan minister, and his family were captured in 1704 in their Massachusetts home by a group of Frenchmen and Native Americans, and forced to march to Canada. Although he and four of his children were later released, his wife died on the march and his daughter, Eunice, became a convert to Catholicism and married a Native American. Despite the ongoing attempts of her father and brother to persuade Eunice to return to Massachusetts, she would agree only to brief visits and lived in a Native American settlement until her death at the age of 95. Illustrations not seen by PW. History Book Club main selection ; BOMC alternate .
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
reviewed The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book. It's one that I will keep in my library. I never had that much interest in that particular historical period, but after reading about how people lived during those times (1700's) and their interactions with the indigenous Indians and the French it has spurred me to investigate my ancestors who lived in MD during this era. With scant information except for personal diaries and legal documents Putnam has managed to put together a story about one woman who was captured by Indians during a raid on Deerfield, MA and decided to stay and make a life with her captors. It was absolutely fascinating.
reviewed The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America on + 6 more book reviews
This book is written in a way that draws in the reader, a style similar to fiction. At the same time it is well documented. Truly fascinating!
reviewed The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America on + 1306 more book reviews
An extraordinary history with exemplary research, and thoughtfully written: Queen Anne's War, when Indians raided far into the colonies, burned settlements, and carried captives away. A February-March 1704 expedition from Canada to Deerfield, Massachusetts, by French, Hurons, Abenakis and Mohawks came south to raid the town and seize the Reverend John Williams in hopes of exchanging him for a privateer captain seized off Maine in 1702 by the Royal Navy.
The author explains that he has had an increasing interest in writing narrative history and cast about for a subject. Demos is well informed about Early American History and deepened his knowledge for this book by visiting the Indians still resident in Kanawake, where the captives were taken 300 years ago. He found a surprising (to me) amount of written evidence as this was a famous case.
Eunice Williams, a daughter, was not redeemed and refused to return home after the war ended. He begins with the planning of the raid in 1703 and ends with a long epilogue about the 18th C. fates of some of the principals involved. A fellow captive, her brother Stephen Williams, has left a diary. In 1782 he wrote "I heard of ye death of Lt. Hall of Deerfield who was taken captive when I was & unless Capt. Carter of Norwalk is liveing, I am ye last Pson yt Survives of those captivated at yt time." Demos writes: "Captain Carter was, in fact, gone by then. Yet Stephen's claim to be the last person that survives from the original captivated cohort was wrong; his sister at Canada would outlive him by another three years. That the could simply have forgotten her seems unlikely--no, impossible--given all that had gone before. But perhaps he overlooked her for a different reason. Perhaps he had changed his long-standing view--and saw her, in the end as captive no more (235-236)."
Maps, index, endnotes.
The book is suitable for additional reading in a high school history course if very interested students care to read and discuss it. It reminds Americans not descended from Indian fighters what tough foes they were (and thus sports teams' names invoked their fierceness).