The European and the Indian

The European and the Indian : Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America

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Studies the interaction between white settlers and native Americans during the colonial periodshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 628.22g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • map
  • 0195029038
  • 9780195029031

Review Text

Ethnohistory - history crossed with anthropology - has not had as much attention as the other offspring of recent interdisciplinary mating, but its appeal and reputation should get a sizable boost from this collection of consistently interesting essays. Professor Axtell (William and Mary) was one of the first historians identified with the new field in the late Sixties and early Seventies. For that reason each of these essays (only two of which have not appeared elsewhere) comes with a preface that often seems to aspire toward heavy intellectual autobiography - when it is not indulging in the inside-dopesterism that plagues collections of this kind ("When I was asked to contribute to the festschrift I had just. . ."). This defect is more than remedied, however, by the adroit arrangement and thematic coherence of the essays themselves. All deal with the clash of Europeans and Indians of the eastern woodlands in the 17th and 18th centuries - there are no loose ends, no stray, irrelevant pieces - and Axtell has grouped them in such a way as to strengthen the empirical and methodological connections between them: two essays introducing and explaining the ethnohistorical approach, three looking at how Europeans changed (or tried to change) Indians, three on how Indians changed (or tried to change or didn't care to change) Europeans, and two reviewing the entire question of acculturation from both the European and Indian point of view. Along the way, Axtell has some intelligent and often startlingly original things to say about who invented the practice of scalping (the Indians did but Europeans commercialized it); about whether Dartmouth really was founded as an Indian college (it really wasn't); about the whites who "went native" (more often than one might have supposed and for better reasons than they are usually allowed); and about an extraordinary range of other subjects, from Indian burial customs to the conduct of Indian wars and the inability of English missionaries to compete successfully with their French counterparts. The result is more than the sum of its parts: a book that can explain what a new branch of scholarship is all about, show how it's done, and give a thoroughly convincing demonstration of its importance. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 12% (4)
4 44% (15)
3 29% (10)
2 12% (4)
1 3% (1)
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