Today in the United States, there are more than 500 federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the 15 million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up peoples' history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.
©2014 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (P)2014 Tantor
"Meticulously documented, this thought-provoking treatise is sure to generate discussion." (Booklist)
I know some about settler colonialism and the genocidal practices of the U.S. against Native Americans, but I don't know enough. This book would have made an excellent textbook in an introductory Indigenous Studies course - lots of specific information, an authoritative tone, good discussions of methodology. As an audiobook, though, there wasn't enough story to really gain traction. Without characters or even units on specific groups or regions to hang all this new information on, I was left floundering in a sea of genocide and horrors. Probably much like early indigenous communities...
The narrator did not help this much. Every sentence is read with the same urgency and earnestness. All facts are equally weighted. There's no vocal signaling that we have reached the middle or end of any story. I understand that the topic is very serious and important, but I can't really hang onto the topic when there's no variation in the tone.
lots of important information, maybe too much crammed in the book and quite angry tone with respect to the atrocities committed against Native Americans.
Ms Dunbar-Ortiz provides us with an excellent history in both depth and breadth of work. As promised, this is from the perspective of the indigenous people and thus may be troubling to those of us descended from European ancestors. The history is unfortunately diminished by the author's proclivity to make excessive use of emotive language rather than the descriptive language standard in historical texts. Ultimately, the author strays from historian to advocate. Here, conjecture, assertions and world view is rampant and would have been better found in an epilogue or companion essay. Nonetheless, this book deserves careful reading and is, without question, thought provoking.
Someone looking for a grudge to feed their hate would receive ample hot garbage to keep the anger level up. I've only listened to a couple of chapters and have heard terrorism being punted more than once as a smart, humane tactic to get what you want.
Substantiating her claims for one, rather than lobbing one ridiculous assertion after another in a controlled but hateful, xenophobic Big-Bird style diatribe against everything non-NA. This is a view through a tunnel. A one-sided, narrow-minded periscopic view.
Whatever. She conveys sourness, which drives the reader away from acceptance of her claims. It's like being yelled at by your wife.
Frustration. I found myself stopping the audio playback at the end of every claim to give personal air-time to the obvious counter-arguments. The chain of logic is like listening to a female Donald Trump, except marginally more coherent. Where is the academic rigor and intellectual honesty? Where are the facts laid out for us college-educated idiots before the claims are made? Where are the personalities of history? I was hoping to become enlightened by insights, or at least bored by the facts. I wanted to hear about tribes and native people who lived here for 35,000 years, to fill gaps in my knowledge. Instead we just get dosed with simplistic grade-school level theories about the motives of European infidels over the past 250-500 years. If you're going to write a book about native people, write about native people. Start right in and don't stop. Her analysis, for as long as it lasted of how Europe evolved into a Colonial monster at least gained some traction with me, but quickly rolled back down the hill when she suggested the frankly bizarre notion that the 13 colonies were somehow legitimately colonized while everything else wasn't. You aren't allowed to say "hey wait a second" before she's onto something else.
Peter Ustinov, in his autobiography "Dear Me" tells of a French nun who tries to recruit him into a funky French version of a Manifest Destiny cult, an Aryan Catholicism during WWII. He notes wryly how she tried to use him as a battering ram to break down the gates of heaven.
This is a book every school should require, and American should read!!! Colonialism does exist!!! Not just in the past, but in the present. And it's scary as hell.
I found this book to be exactly what I was looking for. A history of this country from another perspective. This is like a textbook. Meaty! I am on chapter 4, and had to make my review.
I disagree with the reviewers who say they didn't hear a story...just horrific facts. Well yes, there are horrific facts, but they are expertly woven into an epic story...about a people who still exist, after the atrocities that were inflicted.
Personally, I can't wait to get back to it.
The history is too vast to be covered in any one book, but this gives a studied and engaging history of the colonization of the US and more. Very well read. It should be required reading in any US history course.
Emotional and resentful tones hurt the historical significance at times, but the author provides a very detailed account of the truly sorrowful plight of the Native American tribes and communities.
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