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REVIEWS 329 It wouldbe unfair to ascribe thesedeficiencies of logicand evidence to a singleauthor, sincethe bookdisplays a styleof scholarship, dubbed'documentedimpressionism ' bya writerin theTimesLiterarySupplement years ago ('ImaginativeHistorians,' The AmericanImagination:a criticalsurveyof the Arts from the TimesLiterarySupplement(London •96o), eo3-•o) whichhas become increasingly familiarin American historiography. In Diggins's version, a varietyof data is followed(sometimes preceded)by a sweeping generalization , sometimes from one or two cases but at othersapparentlyfrom the author'sreadingin socialscience. This generalization about the attitudesor behaviour of a class is then explained in termsof culturaltensions, psychic needs,etc. The hastyrecourse to 'depth'analysis raisesthe question whether historians should not try to develop a logicalorderof explanatory hypotheses. Beforetaking the breathless plungeinto the assumed depthsof the collective psyche, wemightfirstseehowfar we cangowith morerational (and therefore probably moreverifiable)explanations. It istruethat thematerials of culturalhistoryare at the sametimesovaried, extensive yet fragmentary,and opento multipleinterpretation,that the field may neverbe ableto achieverigorous verification of its subtlerinsights. Our situationof interpretiveanarchyhasbeencreatedin part by the ambitionto explorenewdimensions of dataandmeaning,aswell asby the loss of faith in an objectively knowable worlddistinctfrom our ownperceptions and preferences . Paradoxically, the desireof historians to useexplanatory modelsfrom socialscience hashelpedto makethe field less'scientific' and more 'artistic,' that is,less dependent uponstrictpublicrulesof evidence and logic,andmore dependent on coherence, elegance, andthespontaneous feelingof illumination. Still, theremustremainthe obligation to apply commonsense and precise statement to our cherished gener/dizations, and to be awareof the line between whatcanbeprovedandwhatremains conjecture. Withal,Diggins's bookremains animpressive collation of dataandsuggestive insights, whichwill prove valuable to anystudent of twentieth century politics and culture. F.H. MATTHEWS York University UNITED STATES The Iroquoisin the AmericanRevolution.BAm•ARA O•.AVZaO•T. Syracuse, Syracuse University Press [Toronto, Bums& MacEachem], I97e. PP.xii, 343, illus.$13.95At firstglance thisbookappeared tobejustanother study of thepolitical and militarysideof the American Revolution-and a ratherfloridlyold-fashioned one at that, offeringsuchbitsof rhetoricas 'the Americans struggling to be 330 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW free from the shackles of imperial rule' and chapter headingssuchas 'A Scourge Unleashed' and'The PathofVengeance.' But theseturn out to be very minor irritantsin an otherwise edifyingand thoughtful study.What Professor Graymontattempts isan ethnohistory which, sheis goodenoughto explain,'relatesthe Indians'cultureto their attitudes and actions'duringthe AmericanRevolution.A greatdeal hasbeenwritten aboutthe warring armiesof whites- both regularand not soregular- on the borderlands of New York and Pennsylvania and abouttheir chequered relationshipwith thoseIroquoisconfederates and foeswho allegedly committed countless atrodties.But seldomhave historians made any serious attempt to examinethe problems that confronted the SixNationsand to reconstruct how theymighthavevisualized their circumstances whenthe whiteworldaround them explodedin what Sir Guy Carletoncalled'a catastrophe shocking to thinkof.' Little hasbeendoneto measure theimpactthatdividedloyalties and openwarfarehad uponthe delicate politicaland socialmechanisms that in normaltimessustained the society of the Longhouse in colonialNew York. Professor Graymontmakesa solidcontribution to correcting this stateof affairs.Shepresents a viewfrom 'theothersideof the hill,' onemadeabundantly clear by her impressive knowledge of historyand ethnology. On the whole she doesa scholarlyand reasonably detachedjob of explainingthe actions of long-dead Indians,a commendable accomplishment whenonenotes her activework on behalf of living onesand her membership in the Indian DefenceLeagueof America.Shereadilyconcedes that heraccount reflects the currenthistoriographical urge to salvagethe 'long-neglected historyof America 'sminority peoples'but mercifullyshe sparesthe readermuch of the moralisticpresent-mindedness that so often distortsstudies of this kind. Althoughthe bookseeks to providea pictureof warfareon the revolutionary frontierthroughthe eyes of SixNations'participants it does not gloss overthe shortcomings of their society. On certaincrucialoccasions, it wouldappear,it wasnot somuch the iniquitiesperpetratedby whitesasthe inherentflawsin the Iroquois'socialand politicalsystems that hamstrung the Confederacy in a time of crisis. In an epilogueProfessor Graymontasksherselfwhetherit was'of greater advantage for the Iroquoisto havesupported the Britishor the Americans.' To arriveat an answershecompares the treatmentsubsequently accorded the pro-British tribesmen whoexiledthemselves to the GrandRiverValleyin the I78OS and thosewho stayed behindto taketheir chances with the victorious Americans.Her conclusion is that the Grand River Iroquoisfared betterthan their kinsmen on the othersideof the borderbecause the Britishgovernment, unlikethe American,madea determined effort to protectIndiansfrom 'landjobbers .' But then shegoes on to saythat evenif the Iroquoishad donethe impossible and remained neutralor evenif the Britishhad wonthewar, the formidablearmyof settlers and speculators in New York couldnot havebeen held off indefinitely from engulfing the homeland of the Confederacy in the FingerLakescountry.Professor Graymontendsby reminding the readerthat thoseIroquoiswho actuallysidedwith the Americans suffered ultimatelythe REVIEWS 331 samefate...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 329-331
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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