Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading New York 1609 by Harald Johnson
5 out of 5 stars
A terrific novel, telling of the ‘discovery’ of Manhattan Island by Henry Hudson, and the beginning of the callous and careless ruination of the Native American way of life.
The main character is the part-white Dancing Fish, who believes he is gifted with insight into the ways of the ‘visitors’ from the east. The story starts in 1609 and moves, through four parts, through to the 1640s, as gradually the Manahate and other tribes are pushed out of their land; the book tells, also, of how they begin to take on the ways of the white man, and become less self-sufficient, something that saddens Dancing Fish.
This is a long book, but at no time did it feel over-written or padded out. It seems like a foreshadowing of many years to come, as the greed and cunning of the ‘civilised’ treads into the ground and destroys a culture that had existed, successfully, for hundreds of years; indeed, it makes one question the meaning of the word ‘civilised’. Only once or twice did we see the Europeans’ respect for the natives’ affinity with the land, in Henry Hudson, in Boucher, an early explorer who was left behind by his party, and Marie, his daughter.
In the latter part of the story, the settlers’ treatment of the natives is unbelievably brutal, sickening and heart-breaking, made worse because you know that all this and more really happened. But the ending is not without hope; Johnson’s characters have a wisdom far beyond most of their enemies.
Johnson finishes with notes, in brief, about what happened afterwards, and explains which parts of his story have their grounding in fact. Highly recommended.
Welcome to New York City, 1609.
When a Native American (Lenape) boy joins Henry Hudson’s expedition up the river that now bears his name, the fearless and visionary–and misunderstood–Dancing Fish doesn’t realize his entire world and way of life are in peril. Enthralled at first by these strangers, he begins to discover their dark and dangerous side, touching off a decades-long struggle against determined explorers, aggressive traders, land-hungry settlers, and ruthless officials. If his own people are to survive, the boy-turned-man must use his wits, build alliances, and draw on unique skills to block the rising tide of the white “salt people.”
Ambition and fear, love and loathing, mutual respect and open contempt bring Europeans and “savages” together in the untold story of the founding of New York City and the fabled island at its heart: Manhattan.