Episode 1: Sword of the Wilderness (Part One)

Stream or download it for free on iTunes, or at http://inwardempirepodcast.podomatic.com/

Inward Empire is a podcast about American history, and in these first two episodes, we’re exploring a crucial period of the colonial past: the story of English/Indian relations in New England, from 1620 to 1676.

Part One begins in the early 1600s, at a time of upheaval and apocalyptic fears in England. In the midst of economic disaster, poverty, crime, and ever-worsening religious and political repression, a fundamentalist movement called Puritanism dreams of spiritual and national regeneration. A splinter group of Separatists transplants itself to the shores and forests of New England. They believe they have a God-given mission to redeem themselves, and mankind; they believe the cost of failure will be annihilation.

But  New England is not, as the Puritans would like to believe, a tabula rasa or a virgin land. It is already inhabited by tens of thousands of Indians, with their own ways of work, war and worship. Their world, too, is a place of upheaval and uncertainty, ravaged by disease and profoundly changed by the presence of Europeans. The survivors must answer two questions: how will they survive in this rapidly changing world? and will they seek to accomodate the English – or fight them?

Part Two will deal primarily with King Philip’s War (1675-76), one of the deadliest conflicts in American history. I’m aiming to complete and release it by April 2015, but because of the length and complexity of the episodes (and due to life’s various distractions) this is a rough estimate at best. In the meantime — listen, and enjoy.

new england map



Bernard Bailyn, The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America – The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675. New York: Vintage Books, 2012.

Alfred Cave, The Pequot War. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996.

William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England. New York: Harper Collins, 1983.

Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1975.

Daniel Richter, Facing East from Indian Country. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Richard Slotkin, Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the Frontier, 1600-1860. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1973.

Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.

Alden Vaughan, New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians, 1600-1675 (Third Edition). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.


William Bradford, Of Plimouth Plantation. Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., 1898.

Charles Orr (ed.), History of the Pequot War: The Contemporary Accounts of Mason, Underhill, Vincent, and Gardener. Cleveland: The Hellman-Taylor Company, 1896.

John Smith, A Description of New England. London: Humphrey Lownes, 1616.

John Winthrop, Journal – “A History of New England”, vol. 1: 1630-1649. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908.


2 thoughts on “Episode 1: Sword of the Wilderness (Part One)

  1. Pingback: The Best Podcasts to Listen to This Thanksgiving - Nikki's Podcasts

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