Beyond 1492: Encounters in Colonial North America / Edition 1

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Overview


In this provocative and timely collection of essays--five published for the first time--one of the most important ethnohistorians writing today, James Axtell, explores the key role of imagination both in our perception of strangers and in the writing of history. Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of Columbus's "discovery" of America, this collection covers a wide range of topics dealing with American history. Three essays view the invasion of North America from the perspective of the Indians, whose land it was. The very first meetings, he finds, were nearly always peaceful. Other essays describe native encounters with colonial traders--creating "the first consumer revolution"--and Jesuit missionaries in Canada and Mexico. Despite the tragedy of many of the encounters, Axtell also finds that there was much humor in Indian-European negotiations over peace, sex, and war. In the final section he conducts searching analyses of how college textbooks treat the initial century of American history, how America's human face changed from all brown in 1492 to predominantly white and black by 1792, and how we handled moral questions during the Quincentenary. He concludes with an extensive review of the Quincentenary scholarship--books, films, TV, and museum exhibits--and suggestions for how we can assimilate what we have learned.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Those who want a readable and informed introduction to some of the concerns of contemporary Encounter historians, this is a good place to begin."--The New York Review of Books

"A most admirable and valuable addition to my supplementary required reading for my survey course in American history to 1865."--William M. Neil, Indiana University Northwest

"Axtell has the rare ability to write about the European presence in America without the hand-wringing of the Left or the clenched fist of the Right. The eleven essays here...are fresh, engrossing, challenging, and entertaining."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"A wonderful volume."--Elizabeth Parent, San Francisco State University

"A series of exceptionally fine essays."--The Louisville Courier-Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195080339
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Lexile: 1630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

College of William and Mary
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Table of Contents

1 History as Imagination 3
Views from the Shore
2 Imagining the Other: First Encounters in North America 25
3 The Exploration of Norumbega: Native Perspectives 75
4 Native Reactions to the Invasion of America 97
Encounters Light and Dark
5 The First Consumer Revolution 125
6 Agents of Change: Jesuits in the Post-Columbian World 152
7 Humor in Ethnohistory 171
1492 and Beyond
8 Europeans, Indians, and the Age of Discovery in American History Textbooks 197
9 The Columbian Mosaic in Colonial America 217
10 Moral Reflections on the Columbian Legacy 241
11 Beyond 1992 267
Notes 317
Index 365
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