When Europeans first arrived in North America, between five and eight million indigenous people were already living on the continent. But how did they come to be there? What were their agricultural, spiritual, and hunting practices? How did their societies evolve, and what challenges do they face today?
Eminent historians Theda Perdue and Michael Green begin by describing how nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers followed the bison and woolly mammoth over the Bering land mass between Asia and what is now Alaska between 25,000 and 15,000 years ago, settling throughout North America. They describe hunting practices among different tribes, how some made the gradual transition to more settled, agricultural ways of life, the role of kinship and cooperation in Native societies, their varied burial rites and spiritual practices, and many other features of Native American life. Throughout the book, Perdue and Green stress the great diversity of indigenous peoples in America, who spoke more than 400 different languages before the arrival of Europeans and whose ways of life varied according to the environments they settled in and adapted to so successfully.
Most important, the authors stress how Native Americans have struggled to maintain their sovereignty - first with European powers and then with the United States - in order to retain their lands, govern themselves, support their people, and pursue practices that have made their lives meaningful.Going beyond the stereotypes that so often distort our views of Native Americans, this Very Short Introduction offers a historically accurate, deeply engaging, and often inspiring account of the wide array of Native peoples in America.
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©2010 Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Ohhh, I do hate to do this. It really does pain me anytime I have to give a not so stellar review. But, if one agrees to give reviews, one must review all honestly. And, after all, it is my own opinion and may not be true for others. So, here goes:
I have always held conflicting views of the American Indians and the American story. I do not call them Native Americans because I do not believe them to be any more "native" than am I, whose earliest ancestors set forth from Germany and Switzerland, Because the earliest Indians probably came from Asia, they are immigrants as well, albeit much earlier. Anyway, I set out to learn as much as I could about them. I thought a good place to start (from an audio point of view) would be a history of North American Indians and that is why I chose this book. And, from the first three chapters, I think I was right. Unfortunately, the narrator makes it very difficult to listen and almost impossible to finish. I have started -- and stopped -- listening to this book three times. I will now get the book in print.
Some people do not mind their narration experience. Others do, and I am one of them. I have to "feel" the story and some voices make it hard to do so. Subjective, I know.
Finally, Step 1 of the review process on Audible makes it necessary to rate Overall, Performance and Story before one can move on. I gave Overall and Story four stars, which is may or may not be fair because I did not get far enough along to judge either.
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