This sweeping historical narrative chronicles events instrumental in the painful birth of a new nation from the Bloody Morning Scout and the massacre at Fort William Henry to the disastrous siege of Quebec, the lopsided Battle of Valcour Island, the horrors of Oriskany, and the tragedies of the Pennsylvania Wyoming Valley massacre and the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition s destruction of the Iroquois homeland. Caught in the middle of it all was the Mohawk River Valley. Through 1763, culminating with the French & Indian War, a series of colonial conflicts between the French and British raged along the North American frontiers. In the Province of New York, French intrusions were turned back with great loss of blood and treasure at places like Lake George and Ticonderoga, while Mohawk Valley towns were raided, plundered, and sometimes, as with Schenectady, virtually wiped off the map. In the American Revolution, patriots wrenched the Mohawk Valley from British interests and the Iroquois nations at fearsome cost. When the fighting was over, the valley lay in ruins and as much as two-thirds of its population lay dead or had been displaced. But by not holding this vital inland waterway the gateway to the West, the river between the mountains America might have lost the Revolution, as well as much or all of the then-poorly-defined province of New York. Oriskany, Cherry Valley, Cobleskill, Canajoharie, German Flats, Unadilla, Andrustown a line of battle sites and destroyed settlements, colonial and Native American, smoldered the length of the Mohawk Valley by war s end, all the way to the Finger Lakes region where the great towns of the Seneca Indians lay in ruins in the wake of Washington s reprisals for the Wyoming Valley raid. The fury of the war increased year by year in the Mohawk Valley, escalating to total war and near-genocide. It didn t have to be that way. Streaming with colonial traffic, the Mohawk River Valley earlier in the 18th century had become a place where the core ethnic groups of an emerging nation Native Americans, Palatine Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, English, and Highland Scots met in commerce and partnership and relative peace and security. Then, wrenched apart by brutal political partisanship, the very social and cultural diversity of the Mohawk corridor made the upheavals when they finally came as violent and pitiless as anywhere.