Taken by the Shawnee (Paperback)

Taken by the Shawnee By Sallie Bingham Cover Image

Taken by the Shawnee (Paperback)

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"A masterpiece of women's frontier experience " --KATHY SCHULZ, author of The Underground Railroad in Ohio

"This is an amazing book, and I couldn't stop reading it." --JOAN SILBER, PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Secrets of Happiness and Improvement

"An awesome account of female survival at a horrific time." --BOOKLIST

A most unusual portrait of early America based on a rare family document, in which a young mother's years in captivity with the Shawnee prove to be the best years of her life.

It's 1779 and a young white woman named Margaret Erskine is venturing west from Virginia, on horseback, with her baby daughter and the rest of her family. She has no experience of Indians, and has absorbed most of the prejudices of her time, but she is open-minded, hardy, and mentally strong, a trait common to most of her female descendants--Sallie Bingham's ancestors.

Bingham had heard Margaret's story since she was a child but didn't see the fifteen pages Margaret had dictated to her nephew a generation after her captivity until they turned up in her mother's blue box after her death. Devoid of most details, this restrained account inspired Bingham to research and imagine and fill the gaps in her story and to consider the tough questions it raises. How did Margaret, our narrator, bear witnessing the murder of her infant? How did she survive her near death at the hands of the Shawnee after the murder of the chief? Whose father was her baby John's, born nine months after her taking? And why did her former friends in Union, Virginia, turn against her when, ransomed after four years, she reluctantly returned?

This is the seldom told story of the making of this country in the years of the Revolution, what it cost in lives and suffering, and how one woman among many not only survived extreme hardship, but flourished.


Sallie Bingham is the author of seventeen books, including Little Brother: A Memoir, Treason: A Sallie Bingham Reader, The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke, and Passion and Prejudice: A Family Memoir. She is winner of the 2023 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, Foreword Magazine's Gold Medal in Fiction for Mending: New & Selected Short Stories, and her work has been included in Best American Short Stories and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Bingham is founder of the Kentucky Foundation for Women and The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History at Duke University. She was publisher of The American Voice from 1989 to 1998 and book editor at The Courier Journal from 1983 to 1989. She lives in Santa Fe.
Product Details ISBN: 9781885983367
ISBN-10: 1885983360
Publisher: Turtle Point Press
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 232
Language: English