Friday, June 12, 2015

The Story of Squanto, First Friend to the Pilgrims by Cathy East Dubowski

Title: The Story of Squanto, First Friend to the Pilgrims
Author: Cathy East Dubowski
Publisher: Dell
Rating: WORTHY!

Contrary to the other review I did today, purportedly about the life of Thomas Edison, this story of Tisquantum (and kudos for using the guy's real name as opposed to an ignorant white man's clueless 'grasp' of it) tells a good story in a voice suitable for the target age group without glossing over or fabricating anything. We are told the unvarnished events, starting briefly with his childhood, and later how as a grown man, he was captured by an unscrupulous English captain who transported him and many other native Americans to Málaga in Spain, where he tried to sell them as slaves.

Tisquantum eventually made it back to the US, but his life was never smooth. Before he could go back to his own village, he once more had to visit England and finally, when he did get home, he discovered that his entire village was gone - wiped out by "plague" which may have been smallpox or possibly leptospirosis.

He served as a liaison between English colonists and native Americans for many years, performing invaluable services and helping the colonists to survive, but eventually, neither the English nor his own people felt they could trust him completely. He seemed to each people that he was playing both sides against each other in the hopes of his own personal aggrandizement.

Tisquantum died of what was referred to back then as "Indian Fever" - an evidently deadly disease which resulted in bleeding from the nose and death shortly afterwards. He was buried in an unmarked grave which showed how little regard he was held in at the time of his death, despite all he had done for his "friends". I recommend this book.