Saturday, September 26, 2009

Book Review: Until I Have No Country by Michael Tougias

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I picked up Until I Have No Country: A Novel of King Philip's War, by author and lecturer Michael Tougias, because I've become more interested in reading historical fiction set in America, especially before the 1800s. I thought this might be an interesting book on colonial America and King Philip's War (a war between Native Americans and English colonists in New England in the 1670s).

The book was not really what I had hoped for. I think it would be worth listing the things I think it's missing. First, I wish it had focused more on King Philip/Metacom. I wanted to learn more about him and his motivations, family, strategies, and goals, but it mainly focused on a fictional follower of Philip. Secondly, I wish the author would have given more historical background. He briefly touches on the relations between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians at the time of settlement, but I would have loved to see a better explanation/exploration/description of the ways things had gone downhill from what were initially good relations between the groups, to where the book started off, with the Wampanoags beginning to fight back.

On the whole, the book is interesting, but not engrossing. It's not really a book that will stick with me--it wasn't that memorable. Parts of it were bittersweet (mainly having to do with the losses that occur in times of war), but I just never really felt connected to the main characters. If I were rating on a star system, I'd give it 3 of 5 stars.

Book details:
Michael Tougias. Until I Have No Country: A Novel of King Philip's War. On Cape Publications, January 2001. 250 pp. $9.99 (paperback), ISBN 978-1888768022.


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