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A Description of New Netherland

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This edition of A Description of New Netherland provides the first complete and accurate English-language translation of an essential first-hand account of the lives and world of Dutch colonists and northeastern Native communities in the seventeenth century. Adriaen van der Donck, a graduate of Leiden University in the 1640s, became the law enforcement officer for the Dutch patroonship of Rensselaerswijck, located along the upper Hudson River. His position enabled him to interact extensively with Dutch colonists...
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Description of New Netherland

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Overview


This edition of A Description of New Netherland provides the first complete and accurate English-language translation of an essential first-hand account of the lives and world of Dutch colonists and northeastern Native communities in the seventeenth century. Adriaen van der Donck, a graduate of Leiden University in the 1640s, became the law enforcement officer for the Dutch patroonship of Rensselaerswijck, located along the upper Hudson River. His position enabled him to interact extensively with Dutch colonists and the local Algonquians and Iroquoians. An astute observer, detailed recorder, and accessible writer, Van der Donck was ideally situated to write about his experiences and the natural and cultural worlds around him.

Van der Donck’s Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant  was first published in 1655 and then expanded in 1656. An inaccurate and abbreviated English translation appeared in 1841 and was reprinted in 1968. This new volume features an accurate, polished translation by Diederik Willem Goedhuys and includes all the material from the original 1655 and 1656 editions. The result is an indispensable first-hand account with enduring value to historians, ethnohistorians, and anthropologists.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Sam Roberts

“If you’ve been waiting for centuries for a full translation of Adriaen van der Donck’s 1655 work A Description of New Netherland, your wait is over. In this work, edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna, one of the colony’s most astute observers ruminates on flora and fauna (his six-foot-long lobster sounds like the subject of a proverbial fish story), including meditations on “the amazing ways” of beavers and sightings of beached whales near Albany. . . . [Van der Donck] paints a generally positive picture of American Indians. His informative book is surprisingly accessible.”—Sam Roberts, New York Times.
New York History - Andrew Lipman

"With this new edition, translator Diederik Goedhuys and editors Charles Gehring and William Starna look to elevate Van der Donck's Description to its rightful place in the canon of early American historical texts. . . . This lively translation is a much-needed teachable primary source for studying both New Netherland and its Indian neighbors."—Andrew Lipman, New York History
CHOICE - J. Mercantini

"This new edition and original translation of a tract by Dutch settler and lawyer van der Donck makes more widely accessible a document crucial for understanding the history of Dutch colonization in North America. . . . This document is an important primary source for students and researchers in colonial Dutch history, the settlement of New York and North America more generally, and the understanding of Indian cultures in the Northeast."—J. Mercantini, CHOICE
Southwest Journal of Cultures - Wendy Lewis Castro

"Long underutilized, this edition will place A Description of New Netherland alongside Thomas Harriot's A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, John Smith's A Description of New England, and William Wood's New England's Prospect as essential primary-source narratives of the early days of the New World."—Wendy Lewis Castro, Southwest Journal of Cultures
Anthropos - Barbara Alice Mann

"The sources on this geographical area in the Dutch period are sparse, so that the addition of this superb translation of van der Donck is of high importance to scholars."—Barbara Alice Mann, Anthropos
New York Times

“If you’ve been waiting for centuries for a full translation of Adriaen van der Donck’s 1655 work A Description of New Netherland, your wait is over. In this work, edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna, one of the colony’s most astute observers ruminates on flora and fauna (his six-foot-long lobster sounds like the subject of a proverbial fish story), including meditations on “the amazing ways” of beavers and sightings of beached whales near Albany. . . . [Van der Donck] paints a generally positive picture of American Indians. His informative book is surprisingly accessible.”—Sam Roberts, New York Times.

— Sam Roberts

Southwest Journal of Cultures

"Long underutilized, this edition will place A Description of New Netherland alongside Thomas Harriot’s A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, John Smith’s A Description of New England, and William Wood’s New England’s Prospect as essential primary-source narratives of the early days of the New World."—Wendy Lewis Castro, Southwest Journal of Cultures

— Wendy Lewis Castro

New York History

"With this new edition, translator Diederik Goedhuys and editors Charles Gehring and William Starna look to elevate Van der Donck’s Description to its rightful place in the canon of early American historical texts. . . . This lively translation is a much-needed teachable primary source for studying both New Netherland and its Indian neighbors."—Andrew Lipman, New York History

— Andrew Lipman

CHOICE

"This new edition and original translation of a tract by Dutch settler and lawyer van der Donck makes more widely accessible a document crucial for understanding the history of Dutch colonization in North America. . . . This document is an important primary source for students and researchers in colonial Dutch history, the settlement of New York and North America more generally, and the understanding of Indian cultures in the Northeast."—J. Mercantini, CHOICE

— J. Mercantini

Anthropos

"The sources on this geographical area in the Dutch period are sparse, so that the addition of this superb translation of van der Donck is of high importance to scholars."—Barbara Alice Mann, Anthropos

— Barbara Alice Mann

New York Times
"If you've been waiting for centuries for a full translation of Adriaen van der Donck's 1655 work A Description of New Netherland, your wait is over. In this work, edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna, one of the colony's most astute observers ruminates on flora and fauna (his six-foot-long lobster sounds like the subject of a proverbial fish story), including meditations on "the amazing ways" of beavers and sightings of beached whales near Albany. . . . [Van der Donck] paints a generally positive picture of American Indians. His informative book is surprisingly accessible."

— Sam Roberts, New York Times

CHOICE

"This new edition and original translation of a tract by Dutch settler and lawyer van der Donck makes more widely accessible a document crucial for understanding the history of Dutch colonization in North America. . . . This document is an important primary source for students and researchers in colonial Dutch history, the settlement of New York and North America more generally, and the understanding of Indian cultures in the Northeast."—J. Mercantini, CHOICE

New York History

"With this new edition, translator Diederik Goedhuys and editors Charles Gehring and William Starna look to elevate Van der Donck's Description to its rightful place in the canon of early American historical texts. . . . This lively translation is a much-needed teachable primary source for studying both New Netherland and its Indian neighbors."

—Andrew Lipman, New York History

Southwest Journal of Cultures
"Long underutilized, this edition will place A Description of New Netherland alongside Thomas Harriot''s A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, John Smith''s A Description of New England, and William Wood''s New England''s Prospect as essential primary-source narratives of the early days of the New World."

— Wendy Lewis Castro, Southwest Journal of Cultures

New York Times

“If you’ve been waiting for centuries for a full translation of Adriaen van der Donck’s 1655 work A Description of New Netherland, your wait is over. In this work, edited by Charles T. Gehring and William A. Starna, one of the colony’s most astute observers ruminates on flora and fauna (his six-foot-long lobster sounds like the subject of a proverbial fish story), including meditations on “the amazing ways” of beavers and sightings of beached whales near Albany. . . . [Van der Donck] paints a generally positive picture of American Indians. His informative book is surprisingly accessible.”

—Sam Roberts, New York Times.

— Sam Roberts

Southwest Journal of Cultures

"Long underutilized, this edition will place A Description of New Netherland alongside Thomas Harriot's A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, John Smith's A Description of New England, and William Wood's New England's Prospect as essential primary-source narratives of the early days of the New World."

—Wendy Lewis Castro, Southwest Journal of Cultures

New York History

"With this new edition, translator Diederik Goedhuys and editors Charles Gehring and William Starna look to elevate Van der Donck's Description to its rightful place in the canon of early American historical texts. . . . This lively translation is a much-needed teachable primary source for studying both New Netherland and its Indian neighbors."

—Andrew Lipman, New York History

CHOICE

"This new edition and original translation of a tract by Dutch settler and lawyer van der Donck makes more widely accessible a document crucial for understanding the history of Dutch colonization in North America. . . . This document is an important primary source for students and researchers in colonial Dutch history, the settlement of New York and North America more generally, and the understanding of Indian cultures in the Northeast."

—J. Mercantini, CHOICE

Anthropos

"The sources on this geographical area in the Dutch period are sparse, so that the addition of this superb translation of van der Donck is of high importance to scholars."—Barbara Alice Mann, Anthropos

— Barbara Alice Mann

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803232839
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Series: The Iroquoians and Their World Series
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 946,123
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Charles T. Gehring is the director of the New Netherland Project with the New York State Library and the coeditor of numerous collections of original documents from Dutch New Netherland. William A. Starna is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and a coeditor of Iroquois Journey: An Anthropologist Remembers (Nebraska 2007). Gehring and Starna coedited A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634–1635: The Journal of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert and (with Dean R. Snow) In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives of a Native People.
 
Diederik Willem Goedhuys is a native of the Netherlands and thirty year resident of South Africa. In addition to having knowledge of Dutch, Afrikaans, and English at his disposal, he also spent several months at the New Netherland Project in Albany, New York, where he had access to the best reference sources for the translation of a seventeenth-century publication.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Extremely interesting

    After having read with great interest and enjoyment "The Island at the Center of the World" by Russell Shorto, getting and reading this book was an absolut no-brainer. What a wonderful insight into the old and forgotten Dutch colony and how people made their living there and made the colony work. We see many of the remnants of that way of life even today in New York City. It's about time to put an end to the myth that tells us that the United States originated exclusively from the Puritans - that notion is completely unfounded and can by no means stand up to critical historical scrutiny. This book states an extremely interesting case.

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