Now Available!

Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (UNC Press, 2014)
Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (UNC Press, 2014)

As of about a week ago, my book Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence is now available to order! You can order it here.

And here is the book’s description:

On October 3, 1873, the U.S. Army hanged four Modoc headmen at Oregon’s Fort Klamath. The condemned had supposedly murdered the only U.S. Army general to die during the Indian wars of the nineteenth century. Their much-anticipated execution marked the end of the Modoc War of 1872–73. But as Boyd Cothran demonstrates, the conflict’s close marked the beginning of a new struggle over the memory of the war. Examining representations of the Modoc War in the context of rapidly expanding cultural and commercial marketplaces, Cothran shows how settlers created and sold narratives of the conflict that blamed the Modocs. These stories portrayed Indigenous people as the instigators of violence and white Americans as innocent victims.

Cothran examines the production and circulation of these narratives, from sensationalized published histories and staged lectures featuring Modoc survivors of the war to commemorations and promotional efforts to sell newly opened Indian lands to settlers. As Cothran argues, these narratives of American innocence justified not only violence against Indians in the settlement of the West but also the broader process of U.S. territorial and imperial expansion.

Finally, I know I’ve been a bit absent from this blog. But I promise to be more active from now on. So, more soon!

Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (UNC Press, 2014)

One thought on “Now Available!”

  1. Dr. Cothran-

    I am a student veteran at UC Berkeley currently enrolled in HIST 127ac, better known as the History of California (up div). I’m about 80 pages into your book and have some mixed feelings. I, as a person with a Native American heritage (Chukchansi and Miwok), commiserate and empathize with the US government’s mistreatment of the indigenous people of CA. That being said, you do very little to hold the Modoc accountable in a two sided conflict, especially Captain Jack. The killing of settlers and the peace talk murders HAVE to be accounted for, not simply listed as a blip on the timeline of US Government mistreatment of Native Americans. Additionally, Captain Jack sir, is a coward. Going through the conflict, its easy to identify. BTW, none of the following absolves the US of their misdoings…. 1) Murders settlers in their sleep. Later blaming other rogue Indians under the guidance of Hooker Jim….Zero accountability is taken in what is obviously a concerted response to prior events 2) Murdering the opposite party at a peace talk. This is a HUGE red-flag in and of itself. Pride, honor and integrity are at the forefront of any reputable tribe, especially in considering a tribe’s leader. This kind of conduct under the assumption of peace would not have been received well by ANY other tribal leader nor would have been a tactic utilized. 3) The escape from their first fortified position. Jack left wounded soldiers and women?? Really? Since when does honor and warrior ethos fall by the waist side in the middle of a conflict? 4) Gives up and abandons half of his squad during an ambush that does not turn out the way he planned… Another example of a cowardice leader who’s priority is personal safety above mission and the group as a whole. 5) When he is caught and they hold a tribunal (different argument on civil v military judgment) he essentially resorts to ratting EVERYONE out in order to save his own skin. EVERYONE. The younger Indians, Toby Riddle, Hooker Jim, the Klamath Indians etc. He ‘s not a tragic hero. He’s a man that repeatedly went back on his word, abandoned his tribe several times in the name of self preservation and a leader decided that his life and ability to carry on outweighs that of his fellow warriors by placing the blame on everyone else but himself.

    I would also be very interested in speaking with you a bit about some of your obvious anti war rhetoric through passive references like “perceived” terrorist threat (9-11) and many similarities between the conflict in Afghanistan to that of the Modoc…

    Thanks for your time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *