I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Daniel Barr. It is extremely well-researched from original sources of the 18th Century. It is scholarly yet readable in an enjoyable, flowing style. Anyone interested in an authoritative and interesting read about the history of Pittsburgh will enjoy and treasure this book. If you want to know how America grew over the Allegheny Mountains, this is the book to read.
"You're not the boss of me!" if you want to see amazing stories of how self-interest destabilized the Western frontier for a half Century the forks of the Ohio hold the tales. Daniel Barr does the best job I have ever seen of peeling back the onion and offers context I have never found in any other source. How was this frontier settled? Why did both Virginia, Pennsylvania and the native Indian's all compete for the territory? How did George Washington's involvement in a crony capitalist land speculation scheme backed by the Virginia governor lead to the 7 years war? How did entrepreneurial schemers like the Irishman George Croghan play all sides of shifting conflicts over the years in an effort to stake their own claim? What would have happened if the Continental Congress had honored the Treaty of Pittsburgh and created a sovereign nation of Delaware Indians in the region? Did you know there was almost a 14th colony of Vandalia? Why are there no heroic stories of the Western Front of the American Revolution? Why wouldn't the local militia leave their front yards to fight the British? Massacres, riots, rebellions, money, wars, fortunes won and lost...Colony Sprung from Hell has it all.
I bought and listened to the audiobook of this on Audible. Would really like to own the hard copy book, but too just expensive.
Nicely written. This author can do a narrative quite well. I thought it had a slow beginning, but by the second chapter, I was hooked. I live in western Pennsylvania, so the geography is completely familiar to me. I really had no idea how rather busy and complicated this area was in the late 18th century. This book has given me launch points for further reading.
On the downside, the author suffers from the Indian worship so common in academia. At one point, he appears to attempt to cleanse Indian autrocities, of which there were many, by saying that “war” for them had cultural “meaning” and implied a sense of “renewal,” and that anyway, the Indians acted out of revenge, whereas the white settlers just murdered, indiscriminately. It’s like I’ve been down this road before with works by academics, and that’s utter nonsense. The Indians did quite a bit of pure murder as well.