Allan W. Eckert Jane Manthorne - Essay

Jane Manthorne

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In one of the strangest chapters of American history a boy who had long played at being an Indian became one. Marmaduke Van Swearingen, captured with his younger brother by a band of Shawnee warriors, traded his white identity for his brother's release and became totally—in fealty, in life style, in consuming hatred for the white man—an Indian…. With a precise fidelity to the facts of history, [Allan W. Eckert] has constructed a documentary novel [Blue Jacket: War Chief of the Shawnees]—terse, brooding in its revelation of white man's greed.

Jane Manthorne, "Red, Black, and White," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1969 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLV, No. 2, April, 1969, p. 193.

Although many aspects of Indian life are well integrated into the text [of Blue Jacket: War Chief of the Shawnees] and the (un)diplomatic circumstances are enumerated, the characterization of Blue Jacket seems suspect. But the author has crossed some of the trails before with The Frontiersmen … and the dialogue inserted to smooth out the evidence is reasonable. (p. 461)

"Older Non-Fiction: 'Blue Jacket: War Chief of the Shawnees'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1969 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVII, No. 8, April 15, 1969, pp. 460-61.

[Wilderness Empire] is the second volume in Mr. Eckert's massive Winning of America series, and just as Simon Kenton was the bellwether of his earlier The Frontiersmen (1967), Irish born William Johnson, Indian superintendent of colonial New York, personalizes this whole phase which is that of the French and Indian Wars. Once again journals, diaries, and other contemporary materials have been used and converted on occasion into permissible dialogue, giving the account fictional virtues without destroying its historical values; on the other hand, while the "winning" will be at the expense of the Indians (the central theme of the series) the author has remained non-partisan and non-judgmental…. A long bivouac to be sure, but a work of considerable substance and stamina.

"Non-Fiction: 'Wilderness Empire'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1969 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVII, No. 9, May 1, 1969, p. 541.