New book explores history of Modoc War

Kientpoos, also known as Captain Jack, was the target of a government attempt exterminate the Modoc people, according to author Robert McNally. (Klamath County Museum)

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Robert McNally, author of a new book on the history of the Modoc War, will offer a talk and book signing session at the Klamath County Museum at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16.

McNally’s book, titled “The Modoc War – A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of American’s Gilded Age,” examines the causes leading up to the war, as well as events during the war itself and effects felt long after the conflict ended.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at Thursday’s event. The hardcover book, published by the University of Nebraska Press, sells for $34.95.

“This is the second new book to come out this year about an Indian war that one reviewer aptly describes as a ‘forgotten’ war,” said Todd Kepple, manager of the Klamath County Museum. “McNally places particular focus on the desire of some government officials to exterminate the Modocs.”

McNally notes that Captain Jack, leader of the Modocs who fought against Army troops, and five of his warriors were the only Native American fighters to be tried for war crimes. Captain Jack and three others were convicted and hanged at Fort Klamath in October 1873.

 Robert McNally, Author The Modoc War – A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of American’s Gilded Age (Submitted Photo)

Robert McNally, Author
The Modoc War – A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of American’s Gilded Age (Submitted Photo)

More than 150 other Modocs were deported to a reservation in Indian Territory after the execution of Captain Jack. McNally describes the conditions faced by the Modocs sent into exile, as well as efforts by Indian agent A.B. Meacham to earn a living in later years by telling the story of the war in lectures and a book titled “Wigwam and Warpath.”

McNally is a freelance writer and editor based in Concord, Calif. He is the author or coauthor of nine nonfiction books, including “So Remorseless a Havoc: Of Dolphins, Whales and Men.”

For more information contact the Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main St. in Klamath Falls, at (541) 882-1000.