This panoramic account of 1776 chronicles the other revolutions unfolding that year across North America, far beyond the British colonies.
In this unique history of 1776, Claudio Saunt looks beyond the familiar story of the thirteen colonies to explore the many other revolutions roiling the turbulent American continent. In that fateful year, the Spanish landed in San Francisco, the Russians pushed into Alaska to hunt valuable sea otters, and the Sioux discovered the Black Hills. Hailed by critics for challenging our conventional view of the birth of America, West of the Revolution “[coaxes] our vision away from the Atlantic seaboard” and “exposes a continent seething with peoples and purposes beyond Minutemen and Redcoats” (Wall Street Journal).
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Claudio Saunt is the Richard B. Russell Professor in American History at the University of Georgia. He is the author of award-winning books, including A New Order of Things, Black, White, and Indian, and West of the Revolution. He lives in Athens, Georgia.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Western Speculation: Henderson's Transylvania Colony 17
Part I The Russians are Coming
1 Soft Gold: Aleuts and Russians in Alaska 34
2 A War for Independence: The San Diego Uprising 54
3 First Contact: Colonizing San Francisco 72
4 Across the Colorado Plateau 91
Part II The Continental Divide
5 A Forest Transformed: The Hudson's Bay Company and Cumberland House 124
6 The Discovery: The Blacks Hills and the Lakota Nation 148
7 An Invasion of Malefactors: Osage Country 169
8 Surrounded: The Deep South Interior 188
Abbreviations for Works Cited 2 73
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you're curious about the rest of the country while we were fighting the British on the east coast, you should look into this book, for you will be surprised that our future west was undergoing a lot of growing pains. The author keeps this topic interesting in denoting modern locations for the locations cited. For example, who knew that the Plains Indians were mostly over six feet in height? They had grown healthy on a diet of Buffalo meat, and when they met their eastern counterparts in Washington, they were surprised to have to look down on them, literally. I think you will enjoy this book, because the "savages" weren't they; they were us.
1776, it is a year known well in the Western World. The year when the American colonies declared their independence, so beginning a war with Britain that would have resounding consequences. Yet it was a war that happened exclusively along the Atlantic seaboard. Thousands of miles of land lay to west of these battles, land that was experiencing its own upheavals, but rarely is that story told. This book endeavors to do just that, spanning not only the North American continent but also unexpected locations such as Cuba, Russia, and Paris.<br /> <br /> I must admit I picked up this book from the shelves on a whim, because I was intrigued Even as a history student we rarely touched on what was happening in North America outside of the British colonies, that is until the fledgling United States began their push into the interior of the continent on their way to Pacific. While I appreciated Saunt's effort, I really felt like he could have done more. The text was dry, often rambling at times as in the pages and pages of information on the magnificence and signifigance of the beaver population. Where he wasn't engaged in long tangents, the author skimmed quickly over the material. At only 210 pages of text, this book provides the barest of introductions to the several topics covered. Given the 50 pages of notes at the end of the book, it is clear that the author conducted extensive research, so it would have been nice to read a more expanded version of this book. As it is, he merely wet my interest in the topics he chose to present. To top it off he introduced yet another topic on the European discovery of the Hawaiinislands in the two page long epilogue. No where else in the book was Hawaii or Captain Cook mentioned, so I found this incredibly frustrating. Good thing he included all his notes so that I know where else to look for the rest of the history.
1776 is a year seared into consciousness throughout the United States, due to our intense focus on a legislative chamber in the July heat of Philadelphia, and the evacuation of Boston, the invasion of New York and battles near Trenton, NJ at Christmas. It was a year of ideas and argument from men like Jefferson, Thomas Paine and in Britain, Adam Smith. And it was the year George Washington began the process of being a world-historical leader. But, as historian Claudio Saunt argues, the events on the eastern seaboard, particularly between Philadelphia and Boston, are just part of a larger story of conflict, settlement and revolutionary changes that were altering the continent and wider world. Saunt, a history professor at the University of Georgia focuses on Russian and native conflict in Alaska and California, Spanish and native matters in the southwest, the pushing westward of the Lakota Sioux, the establishment of trading factories deep in the Canadian wilderness and the southeastern native contact and trading with Spanish Florida and the Carribean. Tightly written over less than 300 pages, West of the Revolution aims to show how the variety of first contacts, trading systems, native nations, and the feeling about in the dark of European Empires. This is a history that describes European interaction with long-standing native nations and cultures they barely understood, cruelty, understanding, learning, economic trade and a stage of development that was unleashing forces that no really understood. The conflict between Great Britain and 13 of their 19 North American colonies does not make much of an appearance in this work. In fact in places like San Francisco Bay, Alaska, even Cumberland deep into Canada, what was going on in Philadelphia is not really understood or even heard about. From that perspective, this history is the last glimpse of the world that was, particularly in the arid southwest, where native nations were, for a time, on equal and greater footing than the European Empires at their borders. This history is well recommended.
About a third of the book is after the epilogue. An exciting topic that could have had more story.
This book consists of a series of rather vague descriptions of events around the globe that occurred in the time of our Revolution. The links tying these together were quite weak, if they existed at all. There wasn't any real overarching sense of relatedness or conclusion.