American Odysseys: A History of Colonial North America

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Written in an engaging and student-friendly style, American Odysseys examines the entire period between 1492 and 1763, covering important topics that shaped the colonial experience across time and in a variety of places. Authors Timothy J. Shannon and David N. Gellman use a thematic approach, focusing on colonial development and integration within a wider Atlantic world. Each chapter begins with the story of an individual who experienced the wonder and terror of colonization firsthand, so that students can feel a human connection to each of these topics and themes. Taken together, these figures—Indians, servants, slaves, explorers, planters—embody the full array of peoples and cultures that gave the colonial era a trans-Atlantic, multicultural character. Each chapter also features a chronology of events described in that chapter. Maps and images throughout the book help visually orient readers to the stories that comprise this concise yet broad-ranging narrative.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authors have synthesized a vast amount of material, including the newest scholarship concerning colonists, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans in colonial America. The writing is clear and lively."—Matt Mulcahy, Loyola University Maryland

"American Odysseys is clearly written and the thematic approach gives the book a coherence that others often lack. It tackles complex problems in interesting ways—witchcraft and gender are two that come to mind."—Thomas Humphrey, Cleveland State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199781829
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/25/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy J. Shannon is Professor and Chair in the Department of History at Gettysburg College. He is the author of several books, including Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier (2008), Atlantic Lives: A Comparative Approach to Early America (2004), and Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754 (2000).

David N. Gellman is Professor of History at DePauw University. He is the author of Emancipating New York: The Politics of Slavery and Freedom, 1777-1827 (2006) and coeditor, with David Quigley, of Jim Crow New York: A Documentary History of Race and Citizenship, 1777-1877 (2003).

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Table of Contents

Each chapter includes a Chronology and Suggestions for Further Reading

Preface: The Wonder and Terror of Early America

Chapter 1: Three Worlds
West Africa in the Islamic World
America before Columbus
The Origins of Early Modern Europe
Separate Worlds and Shared Humanity

Chapter 2: Early Encounters: The Sixteenth Century
Indians' Impressions of Europeans
The View in the Mirror
The Spanish Precedent
Reckoning with North America
Hope and Failure at Roanoke

Chapter 3: American Footholds: Planting Colonies, 1607-1732
Jamestown and the Foundations of the Chesapeake
The Fur Trade in New France and New Netherland
The Plantation Complex in the Caribbean
Cities on a Hill in New England
Proprietary Designs in the Lower South
Proprietary Designs in the Middle Colonies
Fate and Chance

Chapter 4: Remaking America
Land Use, Property Rights, and Animals
Making Converts
Taking Captives
Transformative Impact of War
Borderland Variations
Death of a Dream

Chapter 5: American Slavery
The Atlantic Slave Trade
First Generations
From Slaves to Slavery
Patterns of Resistance
Emergence of African-American Cultures
African Identity in the Atlantic World

Chapter 6: Gender, Family, and Sexuality
Demography and Family Structure in Comparative Perspective
Gendered Divisions in Labor, Household Production, and Education
Desires and Deviance
Opportunities and Limits for Women
Birth, Death, and Culture

Chapter 7: Patriarchy, Politics, and Government
The Familial Model of Government
Emergence of a Southern Patriarchal Order
Great and Small in the Middle Colonies
Social Ordering in New England
Reform and Rebellion in an Emerging Empire
The Meaning of Monarchy in Public Life
Deference or Democracy: The Nature of Colonial Government
Dreams and Visions

Chapter 8: The Natural and Supernatural Worlds
Providentialism and the Lore of Wonders
The Trials and Tribulations of Witchcraft
The Salem Crisis
Skepticism, Science, and the Natural Order of Things
The Marvels of the New World: Flora, Fauna, and Landscape
Medicine, Human Bodies, and Race
Reason and Faith

Chapter 9: Unsettling America: Eighteenth-Century European Migrations
The New Emigrants: Germans, Scots-Irish, and Others
Transforming the Backcountry
Convicts and Soldiers
Servants and Slaves on the Run

Chapter 10: An Aspiring Society: Social and Religious Reordering
Imbibing Equality: Drinking and Culture
Social Rank and Order: Plebian and Patrician
Consumerism and Self-Fashioning
The Enlightenment in America: Words and Power
Pursuits of Salvation: The Great Awakening

Chapter 11: Warfare and Empire
Europe's American Empires
The Imperial Contest in North America and the Caribbean, 1689-1748
The Native Perspective on Imperial War
The Colonial Perspective on Imperial War
The Seven Years' War in North America
Imperial Ambitions and Colonial Realities

Epilogue: North America in 1764

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