A hallmark in recent Native American historiography that merits wide attention.

FACING EAST FROM INDIAN COUNTRY

A NATIVE HISTORY OF EARLY AMERICA

An excellent, ambitious attempt to restore to history long-overlooked Indians who “neither uncompromisingly resisted . . . nor wholeheartedly assimilated” in the face of white encroachment.

Much work on American Indian history has concentrated on the Great Plains and Far West, but a growing movement among (mostly junior) historians focuses attention on the Eastern woodland peoples who lived more or less at peace with the European newcomers during the period of colonial rule, treated by the overseas authorities as members of sovereign nations. Only with the attainment of American independence, writes Richter (Director, McNeil Center for Early American Studies/Univ. of Pennsylvania), did these scattered peoples find themselves considered part of a monolithic whole (“despite ancient rivalries among nations and speakers of different languages, they were all Indians”), a whole that, thought by definition to be the enemy, had to be subdued. Most of them, descendants of larger groups that had been fragmented by disease and other forces before and immediately after the arrival of the whites, had tried to “incorporate European objects and ideas into Indian country on Indian terms.” Thus their cultures, altered by the introduction of alien modes of exchange and materials (like iron, which spurred what Richter memorably calls America’s “first arms race,” and pigs, which wreaked havoc on forest ecosystems and starved out the game Indians depended on), would have been unrecognizable to their ancestors in many ways, and nowhere more so than in New England, where Anglo participants in King Philip’s War who dressed and behaved like Indians battled Indians who dressed and behaved like whites. None of this mattered to the expansionist-minded American government, which abjured the “mutual benefits of trade, peace, and stability” of Crown policy and declared war on Native America militarily, socially, and culturally, making Indian-hating a tenet of national policy—and setting in motion tragic events that haunt us even now.

A hallmark in recent Native American historiography that merits wide attention.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-674-00638-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more