The first in a projected three-volume exploration of America in a geographic context. The trilogy will ultimately span a 500-year period beginning with Columbus' travels. The unifying strand that weaves its way through this large volume is the violence with which various groups, settlers, and explorers usurped the rights and properties of natives in the continual westward trek. Where orthodox histories concentrate on the growth and dynamism of the American pioneer, Meinig sees violent collisions, ""with victors and victims."" The emphasis here, too, is on American regionalism--particularly on how so many diverse European, African, and native Indians could establish so many tight regional entities. Meinig is to be commended for the broad, Braudelian sweep that he undertakes here. America, usually seen in isolation, is pictured as part of a triptych encompassing Canada and South America, with itself in the middle. History on a grand scale.