Book Notice / Book Talk: Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics

Fisher and Silverman NinigretCentral to any understanding of Seventeenth Century Native New England is the figure of Ninigret (c. 1600-1676), the sachem of the Eastern Niantics and Narragansetts.  In fact,  Ninigret was at the center of almost every major development involving southern New England Indians between the Pequot War (1636-1637) and King Philip’s War (1675-6).

In their new book, Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics, Diplomacy, War, and the Balance of Power in Seventeenth-Century New England and Indian Country, Julie Fisher and David Silverman provide a rich synthesis and in depth analysis of the life and politics of the Native leader.

This Thursday, October 2nd, Julie and David will be discussing their book at the Newport Historical Society, The Newport Colony House, Washington Square in Newport, Rhode Island at 5:30.   For more information, contact Kathleen Vanderveer at (401) 841-8770 or by email at For the location of the Colony House, click here.

Julie A. Fisher is an advanced graduate student in history at the University of Delaware.
  David J. Silverman is Professor of History at George Washington University and the author of Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America (Cornell University Press) as well as Faith and Boundaries: Colonists, Christianity, and Community among the Wampanoag Indians of Martha’s Vineyard, 1600–1871 (Cambridge University Press).



Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics and Narragansetts is an important book. Julie A. Fisher and David J. Silverman present Ninigret as an able politician, a flexible and resourceful leader, who saw in the European presence a means to accomplish his own agenda. In an extremely engaging portrait of early New England from the Indians’ point of view they establish that Ninigret was possibly the most important—certainly the most feared—man in that time and place.”—Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Silver Professor of History Emerita, New York University, author of Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America

“This engaging and nuanced biography illuminates the life and career of one of the most important political figures of seventeenth-century North America. Often an enemy to the English colonists, but finally their reluctant ally, Ninigret lived through—and significantly shaped—a period of dramatic historical change. In Julie A. Fisher’s and David J. Silverman’s hands, his life yields powerful insights.”—Brett Rushforth, author of Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France

“The field of early American biography is almost entirely populated by white men—those most likely to have left a documentary record that survives to the present. In Julie A. Fisher and David J. Silverman’s new book, we have a rare opportunity to read a deeply researched and richly imagined biography of a seventeenth-century Native American man. Using contemporary court records and other public papers, as well as archaeological records, the authors evoke Ninigret’s personality as well as his political and diplomatic purposes. This finely-drawn character study is also an excellent history of seventeenth-century New England in general. The pages of this book are packed with insights on early New England and Native America.”—Jenny Hale Pulsipher, Brigham Young University, author of “Subject unto the Same King”: Indians, English, and the Contest for Authority in Colonial New England

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *