[Marxism] David McCullough’s The Pioneers, reviewed.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 13 06:07:01 MDT 2019

Native peoples hover around the edges of the first section of the book, 
a cartoonishly threatening presence to the good New England transplants 
who founded the town of Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River in 1788. 
They appear mysteriously and do irrational things; the settlers are 
never quite clear what they want (though the answer should be obvious). 
We get little flashes of evidence, from the settlers’ point of view, 
that are paranoid, entitled, and fearful. The Delaware camped across the 
river from the settlement have “hellish Pow-wows” that keep settlers 
awake: “I have no doubt in my mind that Psalmody had its origin in 
heaven,” settler John May wrote, “and my faith is as strong that the 
music of these savages was first taught in hell.” In a letter, leader 
Rufus Putnam calls the Mingo, Shawnee, and Cherokee “a set of thievish 
murdering rascals.” (Putnam admires the long-dead Hopewell builders of 
the mounds in Marietta, though; as McCullough ceaselessly reminds us, 
these founders were “intellectually curious.”)


More information about the Marxism mailing list