"Mallios (anthropology, San Diego State Univ.) adds a new dimension to understandings of early North American colonization efforts in his anthropological examination of the three earliest European settlements in the greater Chesapeake region. The author uses gift exchange--in particular, the many layers of meaning in exchanging and trading goods--as his lens for exploring cultural differences. He finds that Europeans and Native Americans possessed dramatically different understandings of exchange, with often-fatal consequences. Seeing most exchanges as gifts, Natives reacted angrily when their offerings of food were not reciprocated by the metal goods they desired. Coming from a commodity-based system, Europeans sought to trade rather then explicitly give. Mallios cites repeated violations of gift protocol in each settlement as a major cause of Native hostility and finally violence toward the Europeans. The author offers an insightful anthropological reading of the relevant primary sources. As such, his book is a nice addition to the growing literature on Jamestown and other early Colonial efforts. Still, most historians and students would find James Horn's A Land as God Made It (CH, Jun'06, 43-6098) more useful. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."
"Mallios presents a fascinating study of early relations between Native Americans and Europeans at Ajacan, Roanoke, and Jamestown that will have wide appeal among anthropologists, historians, ethnohistorians, and archaeologists. An excellent book!"Heather Lapham, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
"Here is a readable account of why misunderstandings of traditions and customs of obligatory gift-giving, exchange and trade transactions led to mistrust and grim violence, with a critical analysis of both sides' violations of customs and mores."
—James McCall, Chairman, 400th Anniversary Committee, Jamestown Society - First California Company