Wise Man – The Colonization of South Carolina Through the Eyes of a Beloved Old Father by James Freeman


From the dust cover: “In 1775, Irish trader James Adair published his History of the American Indians, giving an account of the 40 years he had spent living among various Native American nations “adjoining to the Mississippi, East and West Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia”. Within his work, Adair makes mention of a “great divine” Cherokee man who had in his possession a mysterious stone talisman reputed to be of supernatural origin.

In Wise Man, a portrayal of this Beloved Old Father is offered as he reflects upon his life experiences from the late 17th century up to just before the American Revolutionary War. Early contact with white traders and settlers, the Yamassee War, the French and Indian War, and the Anglo-Cherokee War, among other significant historical events are described as witnessed in a first-person narrative. A perspective is given on events that culminated in America’s Declaration of Independence beginning over 100 years before the tragic incident known as the Trail of Tears.

Faced with the often brutal effects of colonial imperialism, the protagonist finds solace through the strength of his spiritual convictions and his extraordinary knowledge of a world beyond conventional experience.

In the form of a novella, author James Freeman combines historical facts with an insightful look into America’s indigenous culture and examines some of the issues of differing ideologies that continue to challenge human interaction.”
My Ebook review: Seeing oneself through the eyes of another person is very illuminating, just like watching a video of yourself giving a presentation or watching the news when on vacation in a foreign land talking about your homeland. The change in perspective can be shocking. This is what James Freeman brings home in this book.
There are many points of interest in “Wise Man” and most of them revolve around the inability of the Europeans to accept that another way of life was appropriate or to some extent even existed. The characterization of the indigenous population as savages when it was the Londoners who lived in their own filth is just one hypocrisy that is pointed out. On the other hand, it is also clear that the indigenous peoples learned from the Europeans and were able to interact and trade with them, but ultimately this does not seem to be to their benefit.
There are many thought provoking passages in “Wise Man” interspersed with slow moving sauntering prose. I could imagine sitting and listening to this in its proper context but that, unfortunately, is one diversity that has been taken away from the world we live in.

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