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NEW WORLDS FOR ALL by Colin G. Calloway


Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America

by Colin G. Calloway

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8018-5448-2
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ.

 A highly readable if not highly original history of the early interaction between Europeans and Native Americans. Recent history generally casts the European conquest of North America as a thoughtless or malicious genocide of the indigenous population. And while this is in some ways correct, the stress on American Indians' victimization at the hands of the invaders results in ignoring the Indians' contribution to the resulting American culture. While Calloway (History and Native American Studies/Dartmouth Coll.; The American Revolution in Indian Country, 1995, not reviewed) acknowledges that the European effect on Indian life was larger, and more devastating, than the other way around, he contends that Indian culture contributed in many significant ways to what would eventually become a distinctly American way of life. The author supports his thesis with many oft-cited facts about early colonial times. Few readers will be surprised when Calloway reports that Europeans settled in deserted Indian towns, looked to Indians to show them how to cultivate indigenous crops, or that not just corn and tobacco but also potatoes and tomatoes were discovered in the New World and introduced to Europeans as exports from the colonies. Not as well known is the respect many Europeans felt for Indian medicine, or that so-called ``Indian-style'' warfare--guerrilla tactics that the colonists were said to have adopted in their successful fight against the British army during the American Revolution--was in fact only invented by Indians a hundred years before to counter the unfamiliar tactics of European interlopers. Although much of the information here is well known, this is a fine primer on the cross-cultural influence of the Europeans and Indians in early American life. (21 illustrations, not seen)