UA Press book: Remember Fort Mims!
- For immediate release
REMEMBER FORT MIMS!
New Book Offers Details and New Insights into American Frontier History
TUSCALOOSA, AL-From the perspective of the early twenty-first century,
it may seem as though Americans will never forget September 11, 2001. Or
even Pearl Harbor.
But how many among the general public remember the Lusitania, torpedoed
by a German U-boat in 1915? Or the Maine, which exploded in Havana
Harbor in 1898 and led to the Spanish-American War? Or Fort Mims, a
frontier outpost in modern-day Alabama at which hundreds were brutally
killed at the end of a pitched battle on August 30, 1813?
The answer is probably "not many." But the events at Fort Mims had a
profound and lasting impact on American history, leading almost directly
to Andrew Jackson's rise to prominence and power as well as to the
Indian Removals, one of the most appalling events in our nation's
A new book, A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of
1813-1814, seeks to better inform us about our own past. Written by
Gregory Waselkov, professor of anthropology at the University of South
Alabama, and published by The University of Alabama Press, it is based
on solid archaeological and historical evidence. Written with an
attention to detail expected by specialists, it tells a story of
complexity and lost opportunities that will fascinate general readers.
Conventional wisdom tells us that Fort Mims-located near the confluence
of the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers,
a few miles north of Mobile Bay-was the site of a violent and bloody
Indian victory. More than 250 soldiers and civilians, including women
and children, were burned alive in buildings set ablaze by the
Redsticks. The public
outcry over the atrocity shifted prevailing attitudes among white
settlers toward Native Americans. Instead of the government's policy of
cultural assimilation, a new style of American colonialism came to the
fore. This ultimately
led to the various Trails of Tears as southeastern native inhabitants
were relocated westward.
Using archival and physical evidence, Waselkov paints a much more
nuanced picture in the pages of A Conquering Spirit. For example, in the
years leading up to the conflict, white, Native American, and mixed-race
settlers lived side-by-side, and were all victims in the attack. African
American slaves were owned by all three of the other groups; they, too,
were among the civilians killed by the Redsticks, a segment of the Creek
Indian nation who sought to defend their lands and their culture from
U.S. encroachment and domination.
Edwin Bearrs, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service,
calls A Conquering Sprit "a tour de force." Ove Jensen, of Horseshoe
Bend National Military Park, praises it as "the definitive history of
Fort Mims and the Tensaw district." Winner of the 2005 Anne B. and James
B. McMillan Prize for the Best Manuscript in Southern History submitted
to The University of Alabama Press, the book is a must-read for anyone
interested in the early history of our nation.
# # #
A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814
by Gregory A. Waselkov * Publication date: November 4, 2006
424 pages * 61/8" x 91/4" * 30 b/w illustrations and 8 color plates *
ISBN 0-8173-1491-1 * $39.95 hardcover
To order, contact the Chicago Distribution Center * 773-702-7000 *
Distributed in the UK and Europe by Eurospan University Press Group *
www.eurospan.co.uk * £30.50
For additional information, contact: Elizabeth Motherwell *
emother@... * direct li