August 21, 2006
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Kevin Sweeney, a professor of American studies and history at Amherst College, and Evan Haefeli, professor of history at Columbia University, are the editors of Captive Histories: English, French, and Native Narratives of the 1704 Deerfield Raid ($22.95, 306 pp., University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 2006), a collection of original source material that tells the story—or the stories—of the 1704 French and Indian attack on Deerfield, Mass. Sweeney and Haefeli were also the authors of Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield(2003), a historical re-examination of the events from multiple points of view. Captives and Captors received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History in 2004.
In their new book, Sweeney and Haefeli have chosen texts that range from the famous, such as John Williams’ The Redeemed Captive, to the records of French soldiers and clerics, to less well-known Abenaki and Mohawk stories of the raid. Sweeney and Haefeli provide a general introduction, extensive annotations and notes. The texts are also assessed by two Native scholars, Taiaiake Alfred and Marge Bruchac, who was a Five College Fellow in the Program for Minority Scholars in Anthropology/Sociology at Amherst College in 2004-2005. The Abenaki and Mohawk narratives of the events offer readers an opportunity not only to compare captors’ and captives’ accounts of the same experiences, but also to compare Native oral traditions. Similarly, the memoirs of French military officers and an excerpt from the Jesuit Relations illuminate the motivations behind the attack and offer fresh insights into the complexities of French-Indian alliances.
Sweeney, a resident of Greenfield, Mass., has taught at Amherst since 1989. He received a B.A. from Williams College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Yale University.