Dixon, David 1954–
Dixon, David 1954–
Born July 20, 1954. Education: Slippery Rock University, B.A., M.A.; Kent State University, Ph.D.
Office—History Department, Slippery Rock University, 212 Spotts, Slippery Rock, PA 16057. E-mail—[email protected]
Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA, professor of history and director of Old Stone House.
Hero of Beecher Island: The Life and Military Career of George A. Forsyth, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1994.
David Dixon is an American history professor whose writings include a biography of George A. Forsyth and a revisionist history of the Native American uprising of the late eighteenth century credited to Pontiac, a chief of the Ottawa tribe. Hero of Beecher Island: The Life and Military Career of George A. Forsyth fills in the empty spaces of the life of Forsyth, best known for leading American forces to victory in the 1868 battle against Cheyenne and Sioux Indians. Dixon follows Forsyth's career from 1861 through his years in the Civil War, his friendship and education under General Philip Sheridan, and his involvement in the campaigns against the Indian tribes in the 1870s and 1880s. Dixon parallels Forsyth's life with the role of the U.S. Army at the time, including its part in protecting railroad construction crews, the development of trade routes, exploration and mapping efforts, and the formation of government policies with Native Americans.
Never Come to Peace Again: Pontiac's Uprising and the Fate of the British Empire in North America reveals that there were many factors involved in the uprising against the British and Americans after the French and Indian War. Most history books discuss how Chief Pontiac attacked British forts and military caravans from 1763 through 1766 after the British reneged on their promise to leave Native American lands alone in the Ohio Country, land that is now part of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Dixon shows that the rebellion was not all inspired by Pontiac. There were many tribes, including those in the Iroquois nations, Great Lakes region, and Ohio Valley, who were becoming unified in their desire to resist further English and French colonization. Also, a religious prophet of the Delaware tribe named Neolin preached rejection of European ways, and his ideas were being embraced by tribes throughout the Great Lakes region. Dixon does not romanticize the plight of the Native Americans. While showing that the Native Americans were clearly being taken advantage of, he also demonstrates that they in turn committed horrendous atrocities against colonial farmers and their families. Dixon also relates that the native peoples were very nearly successful in driving out the Europeans, winning the vast majority of the battles they fought. However, they fell victim to diseases brought over from Europe, as well as to alcoholism and tenuous intertribal alliances.
"This book provides a solid argument for a general reevaluation of the role of the trans-Appalachian West in the run-up to the Revolution," stated John Reda in the Michigan Historical Review, adding that the author "ably demonstrates that the Indian alliance was for a time more than a match for the undermanned British garrisons, scattered settlers, and bickering colonial officials who opposed it." James H. O'Donnell, writing in the Historian, noted that Dixon also attempts to show a connection between the Native American rebellion and the ideals behind the American Revolution, but the critic felt that such a parallel "is somewhat strained." California Literary Review contributor Robert C. Cheeks, however, appreciated that Dixon is one of the few historians to point out the importance of Neolin in the rebellion and considered the author's refusal to kowtow to minorities "both refreshing and accurate."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 2006, Kevin Sweeney, review of Never Come to Peace Again: Pontiac's Uprising and the Fate of the British Empire in North America, p. 1505.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, March, 2006, D.R. Mandell, review of Never Come to Peace Again, p. 1288.
Historian, summer, 2006, James H. O'Donnell, review of Never Come to Peace Again.
Journal of American History, September, 1995, Joseph G. Dawson, review of Hero of Beecher Island: The Life and Military Career of George A. Forsyth, p. 756; June, 2006, William Newbigging, review of Never Come to Peace Again, p. 187.
Journal of Military History, April, 1995, review of Hero of Beecher Island, p. 367; October, 2006, Scott N. Hendrix, review of Never Come to Peace Again, p. 1118.
Journal of the Early Republic, spring, 2006, Jon Parmenter, review of Never Come to Peace Again.
Journal of the West, January, 1997, Richard T. Waterfall, review of Hero of Beecher Island, p. 116.
Michigan Historical Review, fall, 2005, John Reda, review of Never Come to Peace Again.
Pacific Historical Review, May, 1996, James E. Sefton, review of Hero of Beecher Island, p. 334.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2005, review of Never Come to Peace Again.
Roundup Magazine, March, 1995, review of Hero of Beecher Island, p. 24.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, October, 1995, Sherry L. Smith, review of Hero of Beecher Island, p. 285.
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, spring, 2006, Matthew Ward, review of Never Come to Peace Again.
Western Historical Quarterly, spring, 1996, Jerry Thompson, review of Hero of Beecher Island.
William and Mary Quarterly, October, 2006, David L. Preston, review of Never Come to Peace Again, p. 870.
California Literary Review,http://calitreview.com/ (April 22, 2007), Robert C. Cheeks, review of Never Come to Peace Again.