A beautiful work of post-colonial criticism in the form of cartography.



In this full-color atlas, Nelson (Toli, 2016, etc.), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, relates the history of that Native American people through maps drawn by them and others.

The Chickasaw Nation—whose members formerly lived in the woodlands of what are now Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee and now reside primarily in Oklahoma—has a long history of mapmaking. As Nelson puts it in his introduction, an early deerskin map, credited to Chickasaw Fani’ Minko’ and drawn in 1723, looks like “a fantastic backyard-football play diagram or a primitive, whimsical star chart,” but it is, in fact, an accurate map of an area in the Carolinas. It’s appropriate that the Chickasaw people have continued to be respected mapmakers into the 21st century considering how much of their history has been shaped as maps of North America have changed—drawn by agents of other powers and interests. Nelson’s collection documents this history, including a 1593 map from the Aztec Codex Quetzalecatzin and charts of would-be conquerors, such as Spanish explorer Alonso de Santa Cruz, who, in 1572, drew a map marking Native settlements along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. There are dozens of charts from the 19th century that, in order, seem almost like a flip book of U.S. government policies of forced relocation. As the maps shift to counties and municipalities in Oklahoma, the full scope of what was lost becomes disturbingly clear. Nelson includes brief chapter introductions as well as informative captions that alert readers to notable features of each map. However, the charts often speak quite well for themselves, as in an 1805 map of Chickasaw lands that the French mapmaker labels, in large letters, “Country Quite Inhabited.” With more than 150 maps covering several centuries, this book offers a remarkable visual representation of the arbitrary nature of borders and the massive impact that they can have on defining—or erasing—entire civilizations. It’s a haunting reflection on the dynamism of culture and geography. “Maps have always been alive and changing,” Nelson reminds readers. “And so are Chickasaws.”

A beautiful work of post-colonial criticism in the form of cartography.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-935684-68-8

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Chickasaw Press

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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


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

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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