The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity - Study Guide Part Two, War, Chapter 3, Habitations of Cruelty Summary & Analysis

Jill Lepore
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Nathaniel Saltonstall wrote a "True but Brief Account of our Losses" which is a standard picture of New England during the war, including landscapes of ash, farms destroyed, and bodies without heads. Many colonists could only watch as their towns were destroyed. The ravages exceeded the colonists' ability to articulate. The bodies, possessions and political identities of the New England colonists were severely wounded. Every attack was analogized to an attack on the human body. Nearly all the damage was understood as attacks on bounded social systems of the English by the Indians.

The descriptions of the war were brutal, including women scalped, children mauled and grandparents buried alive. Descriptions of destroyed homes often served as unintended metaphors of the destruction of families. Houses were seen as unable to protect families, just as...

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