cover image

The Modoc War

A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of America's Gilded Age

Robert Aquinas McNally

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Bison Books
Published: 11/2017
Pages: 432
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496204226

DESCRIPTION

On a cold, rainy dawn in late November 1872, Lieutenant Frazier Boutelle and a Modoc Indian nicknamed Scarface Charley leveled firearms at each other. Their duel triggered a war that capped a decades-long genocidal attack that was emblematic of the United States' conquest of Native America's peoples and lands. Robert Aquinas McNally tells the wrenching story of the Modoc War of 1872–73, one of the nation's costliest campaigns against North American Indigenous peoples, in which the army placed nearly one thousand soldiers in the field against some fifty-five Modoc fighters. Although little known today, the Modoc War dominated national headlines for an entire year. Fought in south-central Oregon and northeastern California, the war settled into a siege in the desolate Lava Beds and climaxed the decades-long effort to dispossess and destroy the Modocs. The war did not end with the last shot fired, however. For the first and only time in U.S. history, Native fighters were tried and hanged for war crimes. The surviving Modocs were packed into cattle cars and shipped from Fort Klamath to the corrupt, disease-ridden Quapaw reservation in Oklahoma, where they found peace even more lethal than war.The Modoc War tells the forgotten story of a violent and bloody Gilded Age campaign at a time when the federal government boasted officially of a "peace policy" toward Indigenous nations. This compelling history illuminates a dark corner in our country's past.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Aquinas McNally is a freelance writer and editor based in Concord, California. He is the author or coauthor of nine nonfiction books, including So Remorseless a Havoc: Of Dolphins, Whales, and Men.

REVIEWS

"From the opening scene to the end, The Modoc War unfolds with an unrelenting pace and engaging immediacy. One rarely comes across a historical account written with such verve, truly deserving to be called a page-turner. Here is ethnohistory at its best, an accounting of Indian-white relations from multiple perspectives."—James J. Rawls, author of Indians of California: The Changing Image 

"Robert McNally's page-turning The Modoc War is one of the finest books ever written on this tragic history."—Benjamin Madley, author of An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846–1873

"Robert McNally's history of the Modoc War, convincingly told from engrossing start to finish, tells the story of an American tragedy, but not without powerfully illustrating the nobility and endurance of the people who suffered it."—Greg Sarris, chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and author of Grand Avenue and Watermelon Nights

RELATED TITLES