Praise for Bonds of Alliance

Praise for Bonds of Alliance
Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous & Atlantic Slaveries in New France (University of North Carolina Press, 2012)


  • 2013 Merle Curti Award in Social History, Organization of American Historians
  • 2013 FEEGI Biennial Book Prize, Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction
  • 2013 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize, French Colonial Historical Society
  • 2013 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (Finalist)
  • 2012-2013 Wylie Prize in French and Francophone Cultural Studies, Center for French and Francophone Studies at Duke University


“Compelling…powerfully argued…brilliant…a landmark of historical interpretation.”
~Julie Saville, author of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation

“A brilliant, bold, and remarkable journey into the Indian slave system of New France. It will cause us to reconsider our basic understanding of New France and French Indian relations as well as some of what we thought we knew about colonialism, slavery, and the Native and Atlantic worlds in general.”
~American Historical Review

“Among the richest accounts of the experience of slavery for indigenous people yet published…Rushforth presents in Bonds of Alliance a masterful analysis of the intercultural roots of slavery in French North America and the Atlantic world. The range of fields his arguments touch upon reflects the depth of his research, the sophistication of his analysis, and the broad reach of his highly readable narrative. Bonds of Alliance is a must-read for historians of slavery, early American history, French colonial history, Atlantic history, and American Indian history alike.”
~William and Mary Quarterly

“It may be unfair to call an author’s first monograph a tour de force, but it is the most appropriate label for Bonds ofAlliance. Rushforth’s writing is clear and hard-edged, and his arguments persuasive and amply signposted. His research draws upon an eclectic array of sources, including linguistic evidence, material culture, and demographic analysis, as well as abundant archival material. His finished product…provides the intellectual bridge between continental and Atlantic history.”
~David Nichols, author of Peoples of the Inland Sea: Native Americans and Newcomers in the Great Lakes Region, 1600–1870

“Provocative in the best sense of the term…this book sets a new standard for the study of indigenous slaveries in North America with its reconstruction and analysis of institutions, practices, and individual lives.”
~Tracy Neal Leavelle, author of The Catholic Calumet: Colonial Conversions in French and Indian North America

“Rushforth unravels a complex and diverse skein of social, legal, and diplomatic practices that bound Native Americans and their French counterparts. . . [and] makes several significant contributions to the field.”
~Journal of Southern History

“A stunning reconstruction of the Indian slave trade and slavery in new France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Bursting with archival richness and interdisciplinary insights from historical linguistics and anthropology, Bonds of Alliance shows how the French and their Indian allies hammered out a unique hybrid of indigenous and Atlantic slaveries over decades of war, diplomacy, commerce, and social fusion. Rushforth significantly expands the conventional historical geography of slavery in colonial North America from the eastern rim into Indian country, and he integrates this larger world into a broader transatlantic context of ideas and practices encompassing Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. He populates a vast canvas with unforgettable human stories of brutality and resilience, shattering and adaptation, told with meticulous care and clarity. Bonds of Alliance is a major contribution to colonial American history where slavery meets the middle ground.”
~Organization of American Historians, Merle Curti Award for the best book on American social history.

“Careful, subtle, humane, and wide-ranging…Rushforth’s study offers significant new insights into diplomatic, cultural and political aspects of slavery with careful attention to the legal implications of slave raiding and trading.…The product of more than a decade of research and writing…this groundbreaking work [is] an essential, outstanding, and highly engaging contribution.”
~French Colonial Historical Society, Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Book Prize for the best book on French colonial history before 1848.

“Nuanced, supple, and convincing…Rushforth intertwines the story of Indian slavery with the better-known Atlantic slavery of Africans. Putting the hinterlands of New France in the context of French enslavement of Africans in the Caribbean, Rushforth explores the interconnection and fundamental differences between the two forms.”
~Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Frederick Douglass Prize Finalist for the best book on slavery, resistance and/or abolition.

“A fine and fluid writer…Rushforth develops an intricate and innovative framework for analyzing the Indian slave trade in New France, comparing slaving regimes in the Old World and the New World, between New France and the French Caribbean, and within New France itself.”
~Robbie Ethridge, author of Mapping the Mississippian Shatter Zone: The Colonial Indian Slave Trade and Regional Instability in the American South

“A creative combination of linguistic, archaeological, and documentary evidence. . . . It is quite amazing how much Rushforth has found. . . . Everyone interested in the history of American colonialism and slavery should read this book. Its valuable reorienting effects. . . serve as a reminder that new histories can always be found in familiar places.”
~Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

“By examining the linkages between slavery in New France and the Atlantic world, Brett Rushforth transcends the regional focus central to most studies of Indian slavery to date and points the field in fruitful new directions. Through his exhaustive research and attention to larger connections, Rushforth provides perhaps the most compelling account yet of the significance of Indian slavery to early American and Atlantic histories.”
~Paul Conrad, author of The Apache Diaspora: Four Centuries of Displacement and Survival

“Slavery is at once ubiquitous and highly localized in this masterly work by Brett Rushforth…Bonds of Alliance engages with the historiographies of native studies, early America, early modern Europe, and the history of slavery, and it enriches them all.”
~Christina Snyder, author of Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America

“Rushforth’s research is impressive. . . and the writing vividly brings to life the world of the Indian slaves in New France. . . . A well-crafted, detailed history and exciting narrative.”

“Sharp and superb…Rushforth charts the ‘dynamic interplay’ between indigenous and Atlantic slaveries by tracing the cultural, legal, and social practices in a particular corner of the French Empire…This book challenges us to seriously rethink slavery’s role, and the history of race, in French colonial projects in early Canada.”
~Histoire sociale/Social History

“This superbly researched work sets a new standard for scholarship on Indian slavery in the French colonial world.”
~Gilles Havard, author of Émpire et Métissage: Indiens et Français dans le Pays d’en Haut, 1660-1715

“The wealth of material on Native slavery and, in particular, on the lived experience of the enslaved brings a welcome dimension and nuance to histories of colonial Montreal and the interior lives of bonded peoples. Whenever possible, Rushforth utilizes the names and origins of his actors to reinstate them actively into the historical record and mitigate some of the violence directed at them in their lifetimes…the writing vividly brings to life the world of the Indian slaves in New France.”
~Christian Crouch, Nobility Lost: French and Canadian Martial Cultures, Indians, and the End of New France

“Brilliantly bringing together Native American and Atlantic history, Bonds of Alliance offers a nuanced analysis of shifting forms, meanings, and experiences of slavery. Rushforth draws on prodigious and wide-ranging research, using travel narratives, social history, and linguistic analysis to tell a rich and vivid story. A tremendous contribution to our understanding of the French Atlantic.”
~Laurent Dubois, author of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

“This pioneering approach to colonial North American history traces the traffic in Native American captives from the continental heartland into slavery in French Canada and on the sugar plantations of the Caribbean…A highly original and strongly argued study that will force us to rethink the received wisdom of Native-French relations.”
~Allan Greer, author of Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits

“Rushforth imaginatively uses French and Native sources to illuminate a largely forgotten but vitally important chapter of the American encounter…He never loses sight of the human stories, especially of enslaved Natives, which form the larger patterns he has found. A remarkable achievement.”
~James Merrell, author of Into the American Woods: Negotiations on the Pennsylvania Frontier