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February 11, 2010

St. Francis Professor Richard Berleth Shines Light on Unheralded but Essential Revolutionary War Battleground

Bloody Mohawk Tells Story of New York’s Vital Role in U.S. Independence

When most people think about the major battles that brought victory to America in the Revolutionary War they tend to look south of New York, but St. Francis College Professor Richard Berleth tells us in his new book, Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War & American Revolution on New York’s Frontier (Black Dome Press) that those battles may never have been fought if not for the pivotal, fierce and oftentimes overlooked frontline fighting that continued in New York State.

“By not holding this inland waterway, America might have lost the Revolution, as well as much or all of the then poorly defined province of New York,” said Communications Arts Professor Berleth who began his intensive research into this story more than 15 years ago.

Bloody Mohawk is a sweeping historical narrative that chronicles instrumental events from the Bloody Morning Scout and the massacre at Fort William Henry to the disastrous siege of Quebec, the heroic but lopsided Battle of Valcour Island, the horrors of Oriskany, and the tragedies of Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley massacre and the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition’s destruction of the Iroquois homeland in western New York State. Caught in the middle of it all was the Mohawk River Valley.

“Loss—not just loss of life, but loss of the common stuff that holds humanity together—scarred the survivors and shaded the recollections they left to posterity. Loss is what gives the wind in the valley its special remorsefulness, the fog and lake-effect snow its isolating loneliness. Something happened here that was more intense, more shattering, than the ordinarily sorrowful consequences of war,” said Dr. Berleth.

Richard Berleth received his PhD from Rutgers University in 1970 and has taught in the Communication Arts Department at St. Francis College for 25 years. Previously he was a managing editor for Time/Life Books, a marketing manager for McGraw-Hill, and a senior vice president at Simon & Schuster. His other books include The Twilight Lords: An Irish Chronicle, The Orphan Stone: The Minnesinger Dream of Reich, Samuel’s Choice (children’s) and Mary Patten (children’s).

Bloody Mohawk is available at BookCourt on Court Street and the two Barnes & Noble stores on Court Street and on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as online vendors.

Black Dome Press publishes fine New York State and New England histories and guide books with a special focus on the Adirondacks, Catskills, Berkshires and Hudson River Valley.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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