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Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution.

Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution by Kathleen Duval. Random House, hardback, 423 pages. ISBN 978-1-4000-6895-1. 2015.

Kathleen Duval teaches Early American and Native American History at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Ms. Duval explores the in-depth history of the Creek Nation in what would one day be Georgia and Alabama. Overall, Duval has a keen grasp of Creek history. She also makes linear references to the Chickasaw Nation of Mississippi and Western Tennessee.

Duval discusses in detail the full blood Chickasaw chief Payamataha and later Chickasaw War Chief Piomingo whose name in English means Mountain Leader or Mountain King. Most of the focus is on the life-long tenure and diplomatic work of Payamataha to keep the Chickasaw away from conflict with other southern tribes: Cherokees to the southeast, Creek confederacy to the south and the sprawling Choctaw Nation to the south, east and west in Mississippi, Louisiana and Southwest Alabama.

Also, discussed in detail are Chickasaw trade and diplomacy with colonial English and Spanish, a staunch alliance with the new United States, and earlier colonial conflict with the French.

I would offer the criticism that has undercounts of the Creek and Chickasaw populations. Even after smallpox epidemics, other sources [1,2] indicate the Chickasaw population generally was pushing 5,000. The notion that the Creek confederacy only numbered 10,000 would be at odds with Robert Leckie [3] that in 1800 the Creek Nation was pushing 30,000 and could cumulatively field 7,000 warriors, and both tribes generally had 1/5th of their population half-blood white and Indian by the end of the colonial era.

By 1800 the Creek Nation, for 100 years, had allowed trade-based marriages between Creek women and Scottish highlanders, Spaniards and French traders. The ultimate example being quarter-blood Creek headman Alexander MacGillivray of the dominant Wind Clan.

Duval references the Creek alliance with the Chickamauga Cherokee. Half of the tribe in the 1770s numbered near 15,000. Under full- blooded war chief Dragging Canoe several thousand warriors waged border war with white patriot militia in Georgia, Carolina and Tennessee from 1775 until 1794. However, Duval failed to describe the Cherokee-Chickamauga border war in detail.

Duval spends half of her narrative giving background on white merchants and politicians on the southern frontier, such as Oliver Pollack and the Scottish Bruce Clan who did business with the French Spanish and American interests in New Orleans and the Bahamas. A portion of these Irish and Scottish merchants and patriot American partisans highlight the intrigue and danger of the North American Southeast, given the complexity of Creek, Chickasaw, English, Spanish, French and American, competing for political and economic interest.

Even with some criticism offered about this title, I still do recommend its purchase.

[1] Gibson, Arrell. (1972). "The Chickasaw". Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,

[2] Atkinson, James. (2003). Splendid Land, Splendid People: The Chickasaw Until Removal. University of Alabama Press.

[3]Leckie, Robert. (2005). From Sea To Shining Sea: From the War of 1812 to the Mexican War, the Saga of America's Expansion. Harper Collins.

Reviewed by Ken Dunn

Spring Valley, CA
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Author:Dunn, Ken
Publication:Whispering Wind
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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