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First in Viking's new five-volume series the Penguin History of the United States, edited by noted Columbia historian Eric Foner (Reconstruction), this book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Taylor (William Cooper's Town) challenges traditional Anglocentric interpretations of colonial history by focusing more evenly on the myriad influences on North America's development. Beginning with the Siberian migrations across the Bering Straits 15 millennia ago, Taylor lays out the complicated road map of ownership, occupation and competition involving the Native Americans, African slaves and Spanish, Dutch, French and English colonists. He covers settlement and conquest from Canada to Mexico, and from the West Indies and mainland colonies to the Pacific islands. "The colonial intermingling of peoples and of microbes, plants, and animals from different continents was unparalleled in speed and volume in global history," he writes. Taylor delves deeply into topics given scant mention in most histories: the crucial role of the West Indies in the 17th-century economy and the particular brand of brutality that supported it; cultural disparities among the many Native peoples that influenced their mutually dependent relations with the various colonizers. An extensive, chapter-by-chapter bibliography lists further reading. Even the serious student of history will find a great deal of previously obscure information, for instance that in the 18th century the Russian fur traders went much farther on North America's Pacific Coast than the explorers sent by the Russian crown. The book offers a balanced understanding of the diverse peoples and forces that converged on this continent early on and influenced the course of American history. Illus. (Nov. 12)Forecast: This bold new view of early America should be widely and well reviewed, and will attract a broad range of students of American history.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In this first book in the "Penguin History of the United States" series, Taylor (history, Univ. of California, Davis; William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic) examines American colonial history from a wide-ranging perspective. Instead of offering the traditional story of the English colonies and "American exceptionalism," Taylor examines the complex mix of peoples, events, and influences that shaped the New World. He notes that the intermingling of cultures, people, plants, and animals from different parts of the world was unparalleled in speed and volume and had devastating consequences for the environment and most of the participants. Only a very select few prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, a period in which North America actually lost population owing to diseases, wars, and early deaths. He vividly describes the harsh realities of colonial life and examines the important roles played by French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, and English colonists as well as Native Americans and African slaves. Well written and documented, this is recommended for academic and large public libraries. Robert Flatley, Frostburg State Univ., MD
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is a great book with a comprehensive scope about the settlement of America. What sets it apart from any other text is it's scope and approach. Read morePublished on June 29 2004
This book is excellent; the only book on colonial history you will ever need (although after reading it, you may be inspired to dig deeper). Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004
Good synthesis of the colonization of America, including the SW & Pacific NW. Excellent prose. My only complaint is the very abrupt ending, with no conclusion.Published on Jan. 8 2004
I expected something different from the title, "American Colonies" and from a quick scan of the table of contents. Read morePublished on July 15 2003 by W. Young
Everyone else has already said it- this is an absolutely excellent history of colonial North America. Read morePublished on May 22 2003 by L. Nolan
Alan Taylor's "American Colonies" is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the complex mosaic that makes up the Americas, and especially the North Americas,... Read morePublished on March 22 2003 by Velile
Alan Taylor has painted for the reader, in his book American Colonies, a fantastic picture of the early years of the entire North American continent. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2002 by Eric Hobart
This is a great book. I have a 2 year old and have to read in short bursts late at night before I fall asleep. Many nights I read far into the night. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2002 by Nina
While living up to its unpretentious name, American Colonies is perhaps one of the most important works in eighteenth century studies to appear in many years. Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2002 by J. Lindner