Sunday, January 8, 2017

recent read; Warriors of the Wildlands

Warriors of the Wildlands by Jim Cornelius

For years now, on his blog site Frontier Partisans, Jim Cornelius has been focused on illuminating those men (and women) who lived on the edges of history. The edges where civilization pushed into the aboriginal and the world was shaded in gray. The frontier lands and the combatants such clashes created or molded. He also highlights current events and people who evoke such spirits (and sometimes ghosts.)

With Warriors of the Wildlands, Jim turns his pen to bringing together treatises on such people in the printed form. But this is no mere re-tread of his blog. Some of the historic figures explored have featured on his blog but the book expands on them. And the book includes plenty of new characters, too.

Wisely, Jim focuses on three eras to consolidate the spirit he wants to illuminate to modern readers.

We start in the Ohio Valley frontier of the late 1700s and early 1800s. The first "Western" frontier of the U.S. Manifest Destiny expansion. Bloody, hard fought engagements constantly raged in the area - French & Indian War, American Revolution, the War of 1812, continuing battles with displaced natives - until the native populations were finally quelled.

No collection of tales such as this can ignore the classic American West of the 1800s. We meet frontier fighters from both native America and American settlers expanding into their lands. Jim also brings us south, into Mexican-American skirmishes and disagreements.

Finally, we cross the Atlantic and are embroiled in late 1800s through early 1900s battles of Empires in Africa, right through and including World War I partisan operations.

The one modern touchstone is provided in the Epilogue, where Jim draws a straight line of ancestry from the guerrilla, scouting, and indigenous recruiting tactics of the Frontier Partisans of the past to allied operations in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.

Many people find history dry or not worth their time. And some history books read like phone books. This book is a balm against such books and attitudes. These characters of the frontiers, these warriors, come to life and their (sometimes astonishing) exploits leap off the pages of Warriors of the Wildlands.

Put this on your bookshelf - especially if you enjoy learning the finer details of history.


  1. This sounds really good. Great example of how research is never wasted.