This book should come with a warning about mature content!  George Feldman lays bare the brutal history of North America. It is a far cry from what is taught in high schools. I think the phrase cruelty beyond belief is an appropriate description. I found myself unable to put this book down, but much of the content revolted me. Mans inhumanity to man is explored in depth and paints the human race in a very poor light.

We are all familiar with Hollywood’s portrayal of Cowboys and Indians, but there is much more to this story than what the studio’s would have us believe.

Violence was very much part of everyday life even before the arrival of the Europeans. Although there were a few peaceful native tribes, by and large the majority practiced a brutal lifestyle not only on their enemies but on members of their own tribe. Using contemporary writing combined with writings from the period the reader is taken on a journey of horror, terror, and brutality almost beyond imagination.

A subject which few people talk about is cannibalism, it is one of those subjects that we as a race rarely think about, and rarely talk about. Yet, when we explore the history of North America there is ample evidence of cannibalism, sometimes for ritualistic purposes, sometimes as a way to show contempt for their enemies, and sometimes for reasons so dark, it is hard to comprehend.

Many of the native rituals involved human sacrifice, sometimes of a captured enemy, sometimes of women, children, or even babies from within their own numbers. Several tribes practiced infanticide.

The author also explores the the practice of scalping, this inhuman practice was quickly adopted by the European settlers as way to decimate the native population. A particularly graphic part of the book concerns two gentlemen, James Kirker and John Joel Glanton. These two men took the practice to new lows. There is one sentence that sticks in my mind.

If James Kirker was cold and heartless, John Joel Glanton was sub-human.

Torture was another often used weapon, and the methods used were inhuman, with only one intent, to kill the victim in the worst possible fashion. To say the the least the methods were creative, and barbaric to the max.

In the final chapter George Feldman makes some interesting observations on the subject of terror, and how it forms a cornerstone of the human psyche both in history and in the present day. Clearly terror was a weapon used by the native people, and also employed to great effect by the Spanish and English.

Cannibalism, Headhunting And Human Sacrifice In North America is a very well researched book, and anyone with an interest in American history should put it on their reading list. The story he tells is not a pretty one, the subjects discussed are taboo, and not often talked about in todays world. We live in a world of delusion, thinking of our forefathers, the pilgrims as a peace loving group wishing nothing more than to escape the tyranny of England. This picture is almost completely false. Almost immediately after arriving there were serious conflicts with the native population.

You can order your own copy from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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