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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Thomas Adams has thoroughly researched the history of English settlers vs. Native Americans in the early years of Southern New England in "Preying Indians". The author is clear in his history-based opinion that the problems that arose between the Native American indigents such as the Narragansett and Pequots and the English settlers was basically a lack of understanding of each other's culture. The English settlers tried to convert local Native Americans and some did espouse Christianity, thus becoming "praying" Indians. Other Native Americans took great offense at the English settlers' attempts to establish themselves in a new land as they often offered little in exchange for lands and crops. These Native Americans were forced to become "preying" Indians as when the English settlement of Springfield, Massachusetts, was attacked and burned on October 5 of 1675. As the author writes on page 151, "The whole conduct of Massachusetts and Connecticut against the Narragansetts had often been unjust and high-handed." Author Adams cloaks his intensive history of early Southern New England in a story of Isaac Adams, son of Jonathon Adams, who marries Anna who is half Native American, half Anglo. Isaac and Anna move to Springfield, Massachusetts, where they raise their son Obadiah. Isaac sends Anna and Obadiah to live with his father on Martha's Vineyard when the attack on Springfield was imminent. Thomas Adams has recounted accurately and in great detail a much misunderstood period in the history of the United States including the background of King Phillip's War.
"Preying Indians" is an intense and detailed story of an important part of the early colonial years in our country's past. The history of English settlers to New England and the many Native American tribes that were here long before them is the main part of this story. Isaac's story is not as interwoven as it might be in the author's coverage of this part of New England's early years. However, "Preying Indians" is a book that should be read by history students and scholars everywhere as it is a real eye-opener based upon fact. If you want to know the history behind Metcom, better known as King Phillip, "Preying Indians" is a must read.