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The Deerfield Massacre : a surprise attack, a forced march, and the fight for survival in early America  Cover Image Book Book

The Deerfield Massacre : a surprise attack, a forced march, and the fight for survival in early America

Summary: "Once it was one of the most famous events in early American history. Today, it has been nearly forgotten. In an obscure, two-hundred-year-old museum in a little village in western Massachusetts, there lies what once was the most revered but now totally forgotten relic from the history of early New England--the massive, tomahawk-scarred door that came to symbolize the notorious Deerfield Massacre. This impregnable barricade--known to early Americans as "The Old Indian Door"--constructed from double-thick planks of Massachusetts oak and studded with hand-wrought iron nails to repel the flailing tomahawk blades of several attacking native tribes, is the sole surviving artifact from the most dramatic moment in colonial American history: Leap Year, February 29, 1704, a cold, snowy night when hundreds of native Americans and their French allies swept down upon an isolated frontier outpost and ruthlessly slaughtered its inhabitants. The sacking of Deerfield led to one of the greatest sagas of adventure, survival, sacrifice, family, honor, and faith ever told in North America. 112 survivors, including their fearless minister, the Reverend John Williams, were captured and led on a 300-mile forced march north, into enemy territory in Canada. Any captive who faltered or became too weak to continue the journey--including Williams's own wife and one of his children--fell under the knife or tomahawk. Survivors of the march willed themselves to live and endured captivity. Ransomed by the King of England's royal governor of Massachusetts, the captives later returned home to Deerfield, rebuilt their town and, for the rest of their lives, told the incredible tale. The memoir of Rev. Williams, The Redeemed Captive, became the first bestselling book in American history and published a few years after his liberation, it remains a literary classic. The old Indian door is a touchstone that conjures up one of the most dramatic and inspiring stories of colonial America--and now, finally, this legendary event is brought to vivid life by popular historian James Swanson"--

Item details

  • ISBN: 9781501108181
  • ISBN: 1501108166
  • ISBN: 9781501108167
  • Physical Description: xiv, 316 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), map ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York, NY : Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, LLC, 2024.

Contents / Notes

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Prologue -- Part I: A history of superstition, violence, and massacre. "Dear and deadly grapes" -- Blood in the snow : February 29, 1704 -- "Fell by the rage of ye barbarous enemy" : On the march -- Part II: The aftermath : Captivity and a test of faith. Tales of captivity -- Redemption and return to Zion -- End of days -- Part III: Memory, myth, and legend. Antiquarian sanctification -- Colonial revival and patriotism enthroned -- New interpretations and a "massacre" reimagined -- Epilogue: The ghost of a town.
Subject: Deerfield Massacre, Deerfield, Mass., 1704
Indian captivities Canada
Deerfield (Mass.) History Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 Historiography
Prisonniers des Peuples autochtones Canada
Indian captivities
Massachusetts Deerfield
Deerfield (Mass.)
Genre: History.

Currently available copies

  • 7 out of 25 copies are currently available at PINES.


  • 3 current holds on 25 total copies.
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Library System: Library Branch Name
Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status  
Athens Regional Library System:
      Athens-Clarke County Library
NONFIC 974.422 SWANSON ( Send Text)
31001006219183 NEW-BKS In transit
Athens Regional Library System:
      Bogart Library
NONFIC 974.422 SWANSON ( Send Text)
31001006219928 NONFICTION Checked out
Cherokee Regional Library:
      LaFayette-Walker County Library
974.422 SWANSON ( Send Text)
31010006932083 ADULT Checked out
Coastal Plain Regional Library System:
      Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library
974.4 SWANSON, JAMES ( Send Text)
31013002225981 Adult Non Fiction Checked out
Elbert County Public Library System:
      Elbert County Public Library
974.422 SWANSON ( Send Text)
31020000582131 NONFIC Available
Flint River Regional Library System:
      Fayette County Public Library
974.422 SWANSON ( Send Text)
31022010422498 ADULT Checked out
Flint River Regional Library System:
      Griffin-Spalding County Library
974.422 SWANSON ( Send Text)
31022010425624 ADULT Checked out
Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library:
      Columbia County Library
974.4 SWA ( Send Text)
31100002838010 New Books - Adult On holds shelf
Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library:
      Harlem Branch library
974.4 SWA ( Send Text)
31100002840164 New Books - Adult Available
Live Oak Public Libraries:
      Islands Library
974.422 SWAN ( Send Text)
31008000448453 NONFIC Available

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