2008: Novelist John Updike, in a perceptive New Yorker review of Toni Morrison’s novel “A Mercy” (2008), praises it for its ability to capture “the dark stew of seventeenth-century America.”
From the Wikipedia entry on Bacon’s Rebellion, which mentions the novel:
Bacon’s Rebellion in Fiction
Toni Morrison’s A Mercy (2008) contains important reflections on the impact of Bacon’s Rebellion on race and class formation in Virginia and elsewhere. Her sources of inspiration included historians Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom (1975) and Gary Nash’s Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early North America (3rd. ed. 1992). In particular, see this passage told from the point of view of a tradesman, Jacob Vaark, traveling from Virginia’s eastern shore to Maryland in 1682:
“Half a dozen years ago an army of blacks, natives, whites, mulattoes–freedmen, slaves and indentured–had waged war against local gentry led by members of that very class. When that ‘people’s war’ lost its hopes to the hangman, the work it had done–which included the slaughter of opposing tribes and running the Carolinas off their land–spawned a thicket of new laws authorizing chaos in defense of order. By eliminating manumission, gatherings, travel and bearing arms for black people only; by granting license to any white to kill any black for any reason; by compensating owners for a slave’s maiming or death, they separated and protected all whites from others forever. Any social ease between gentry and laborers, forged before and during that rebellion, crumbled beneath a hammer wielded in the interests of the gentry’s profits. In Jacob Vaark’s view, these were lawless laws encouraging cruelty in exchange for common cause, if not common virtue” (pp. 10-11).