As Fintan O'Toole's superbly researched, colorfully dramatic narrative makes clear, the key to Johnson's signal effectiveness was the style in which he lived as a "white savage." Johnson had two wives, one European, one Mohawk; became fluent in Mohawk; and pioneered the use of Indians as active partners in the making of a new America. O'Toole's masterful use of the extraordinary (often hilariously misspelled) documents written by Irish, Dutch, German, French, and Native American participants in Johnson's drama enlivens the account of this heroic figure's legendary career; it also suggests why Johnson's early multiculturalism unraveled, and why the contradictions of his enterprise created a historical dead end.
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The Iroquois were the people of several tribes in the Eastern United States and Canada, who controlled large areas before European settlement and allied themselves variously with French, British and Americans during their 18th century wars. King George's War, so named for the British monarch at the time, was part of a worldwide conflict between the British and French empires.