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American Colonies: The Settling of North America

by Alan Taylor

Other authors: Eric Foner (Editor)

Series: The Penguin History of the United States (2001)

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1,026815,003 (4.15)23
In the first volume in the Penguin History of the United States series, edited by Eric Foner, Alan Taylor challenges the traditional story of colonial history by examining the many cultures that helped make America, from the native inhabitants from millennia past, through the decades of Western colonization and conquest, and across the entire continent, all the way to the Pacific coast. Transcending the usual Anglocentric version of our colonial past, he recovers the importance of Native American tribes, African slaves, and the rival empires of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and even Russia in the colonization of North America. Moving beyond the Atlantic seaboard to examine the entire continent, American Colonies reveals a pivotal period in the global interaction of peoples, cultures, plants, animals, and microbes. In a vivid narrative, Taylor draws upon cutting-edge scholarship to create a timely picture of the colonial world characterized by an interplay of freedom and slavery, opportunity and loss.… (more)
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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
One of the best surveys of Colonial American history I've ever read. The scope is comprehensive and sweeping and it is easy to read. Our book group read it in conjunction with Guns, Germs, and Steel, which is a good accompaniment. ( )
  prepper | Apr 17, 2021 |
A model work of new-style history. Taylor's book isn't a straight narrative, but it has the grip of one thanks to his eye for detail, his better than passable prose (which, in academic history, is... well, that's very high praise), and his even-handedness. The settling of North America was not a pleasant thing. As ever, the test for a work of history is whether it makes you want to read other books on the same topic, and this one did that in spades.

A friend has done an excellent review of this book, so I don't have to say anything else. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
With so very many details about the colonial period in North America from such an incredibly different perspective than I got in school, this book helps make sense of some of the attitudes and institutions in place in the United States today. I'm very pleased that I learned about this book (among others) while my children are still in school and while I'm still in charge of choosing their history curriculum. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Sep 9, 2020 |
Outstanding example of detailed and useful historical narrative. So far as I could tell, it did not have any partisan ax to grind (I could be obtuse), as it presented both good and bad incidents dispassionately. ( )
  librisissimo | Oct 27, 2017 |
This is the most comprehensive book on pre-Revolutionary America that I've ever read. It covers everywhere and virtually everyone, from the Pilgrims that you always read about, to the slaves, women, and native people that are usually overlooked. It is sometimes grim reading. Europeans were frequently cruel to the natives. There's a lot about the conditions the slaves lived in. So many massacres, so much bloodshed.

But it's not all dismal. Some of it talks about politics, land speculation, exploration, trade, and social customs. Even if you thought you knew about pre-Revolutionary America, you're going to find a lot of stuff you didn't know. I enjoyed listening to this, but I think it would have been better in print with some maps. Fortunately, I know basic American geography so I was able to follow along. I really recommend this one. ( )
  cmbohn | Sep 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Taylor, AlanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foner, EricEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Scholars used to think of Native American cultures as relatively static, unchanging for centuries until encountered and overwhelmed by the European invaders after 1492.
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In the first volume in the Penguin History of the United States series, edited by Eric Foner, Alan Taylor challenges the traditional story of colonial history by examining the many cultures that helped make America, from the native inhabitants from millennia past, through the decades of Western colonization and conquest, and across the entire continent, all the way to the Pacific coast. Transcending the usual Anglocentric version of our colonial past, he recovers the importance of Native American tribes, African slaves, and the rival empires of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and even Russia in the colonization of North America. Moving beyond the Atlantic seaboard to examine the entire continent, American Colonies reveals a pivotal period in the global interaction of peoples, cultures, plants, animals, and microbes. In a vivid narrative, Taylor draws upon cutting-edge scholarship to create a timely picture of the colonial world characterized by an interplay of freedom and slavery, opportunity and loss.

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