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Publisher's Summary

In the second half of the 19th century, the Euro-American citizenry of California carried out mass genocide against the Native population of their state, using the processes and mechanisms of democracy to secure land and resources for themselves and their private interests. The murder, rape, and enslavement of thousands of Native people were legitimized by notions of democracy - in this case mob rule - through a discreetly organized and brutally effective series of petitions, referenda, town hall meetings, and votes at every level of California government.

Murder State is a comprehensive examination of these events and their early legacy. Preconceptions about Native Americans as shaped by the popular press and by immigrants' experiences on the Overland Trail to California were used to further justify the elimination of Native people in the newcomers' quest for land. The allegedly "violent nature" of Native people was often merely their reaction to the atrocities committed against them as they were driven from their ancestral lands and alienated from their traditional resources. Murder State calls attention to the misuse of democracy to justify and commit genocide.

©2012 Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"One of the most important works ever published on the history of American Indians in California in the mid-nineteenth century." ( Indian Country)
"A significant historical account detailing white pioneers perpetrating genocide against California Indians." ( Journal of American Studies)
"Perhaps the most provocative aspect of his book is Lindsay's connection of American democracy to the killing of Indians." ( American Historical Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

History of Native American Genocide in California

Although repetitious at times the book gives both a broad and deep history of the genocide of Native Americans in California. Very disturbing but very important information to know about US history.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Wow! A history to never repeat.

It is really a phenomenal that this history is so we'll documented but then never acknowledged by the general public.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow to get going, but ultimately worthwhile

It took a few false starts before I committed to the book, due to the overly academic tone of the introductory chapters, explaining what will and what will not be covered. But once I got beyond that, it was a thoroughly interesting book. Moreover, the topic is absolutely essential and deserving of a comprehensive telling. In the current political climate, it's not so hard to believe these accounts of genocide. It's harder to believe that some of our attitudes have changed so little.

Also, the criticisms of the narrator are well-founded, if a bit overboard. He mispronounces a few words, most notably *epitome* and its derivations. And honestly, it is a bit flat, but not so much as to ruin the book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • CDF
  • Fair Oaks, CA USA
  • 09-15-17

Narrator needs to learn pronunciation!

What would have made Murder State better?

A better narrator.

Would you recommend Murder State to your friends? Why or why not?

Not in audible format.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Aside from mispronouncing words and place names, the entire narration was lifeless.

Any additional comments?

The story and subject matter are compelling and deserve a far better presentation.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Essential history, mediocre reader

worthwhile, but the reader could have made listening more pleasant by using less forceful intonation .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well researched, well presented, narrator sucked.

Would you listen to Murder State again? Why?

I would not listen to Murder State again. I would READ this book again, but I would not LISTEN to it again. The narrator was the absolute worst narrator I have ever had the displeasure of listening to, and I have listened to dozens and dozens of audio books. He was so bad, I had to stop listening to him about 30% through the book. I went out and bought the book, and just read it. The narrator mispronounced multiple words repeatedly, and had the worst habit of emphasizing every AND, often completely changing the meaning of the sentence. Jack AND JILL went up the hill. The boys AND GIRLS were in the yard. Sentence after sentence was rendered with no discernible vocal melody, incorrectly pronounced words abounded, and constant emphases was placed on the wrong words. The narrator was horrible...absolutely horrible.

What other book might you compare Murder State to and why?

An Indigenous People's History of the United States. Both are scholarly works that were well researched and well presented, and both focused on the genocide of Native Peoples.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jim Wentland?

Anyone who could read aloud in standard American English that isn't this guy. I would be willing to do it myself free of charge, just so that people could enjoy this important and well-written work.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This isn't the sort of book that would lend itself to being made into a film.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful