The Modoc War: A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of America’s Gilded Age
The central question spiraling out of McNally’s stone-turning research begs us to consider whether “might” really means “righteous” when it comes to justifying the use of military power to the advance commercial profits of a few well-connected individuals. In today’s fast-paced scandals, we all might learn a thing or two by studying the lessons offered by this galling history of the government’s total extermination of a small band of people.
Regardless of what your political affiliations are, if you can read this story without any sympathy toward the disenfranchised and without anger toward those who rob them, check to see if you still have a pulse.
“Look into the Modoc War only from the Lost River raid on…and the Indians come off as the bad guys. But if you push the historical frame back, a different picture emerges.”
McNally constructs this narrative in a way that brings key players in the bloody drama back to life. More aptly than most histories of Native American wars, this book applies to a number of other conflicts: “The pitting of good against evil in a cosmic war eliminated any rules of engagement tempered by ethics and morality. When a war goes cosmic, the only acceptable outcome is extermination of the infernal enemy. No tactic is too drastic, no weapon too vicious.”
McNally’s work should not merely be included in the curriculum of American military academies, it should be mandatory reading for political scientists.
Robert Aquinas McNally