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The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America Hardcover – Nov 13 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada; First edition (Nov. 13 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385664214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385664219
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.4 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ken Kardash on Dec 30 2012
Format: Hardcover
Living in the generation of the 500th anniversaries of various European "settlements" of North America, I have always wondered about the story from the point of view of those who were here first. From the cover and subtitle I had the impression that the focus of this book would be early contact between invading and native cultures throughout North America. Instead, the scope is broader in time and narrower in geography. This is not a criticism, but for those more interested in the former angle on things, Charles Mann's 1491 and 1493 are pretty hard to beat.

Thomas King sets out to convey what the long history of European "settlement", right up to the present day, feels like from an Indian's point of view. As he points out in the Preface, his is not a scholarly dissertation and is free of footnotes. This is why, at his wife's urging we are told, the word "account" replaced "history" in the subtitle. A master storyteller, he uses instead an anecdotal, conversational style that carries the reader back and forth across the Canada - U.S border and the centuries. His justifiable rage at the litany of mistreatments and abuses of Indians is palpable. What saves the book from being unreadably depressing are his comically sarcastic interjections, which had me laughing out loud at times despite myself. The only improvement would have been to take another of his wife's suggestions and avoid indulging in occasional detailed lists of atrocities. These break the narrative flow that is more powerful when he fleshes out selected incidents in human detail, like the murder of Indian youths by police officers in modern-day Saskatoon.

Because of his breezy style, I felt swept along despite the difficult subject matter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Aleta Karstad on Dec 15 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Again, Tom King shows us both sides of the box - the inside and the outside. This book is essential reading for all thoughtful citizens of North America. Information-packed but very readable, the book is woven throughout by Tom King's wit. Every page has something you just must read aloud or share somehow. A real gem! I finished the book with a feeling of hope that perhaps if enough people read it, the world will change for the better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Jones on July 19 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading Thomas King's "The Inconvenient Indian" a very insightful view on how North Americans, both native and non native have come to this place at this time...now.
It was written by a native and his opinions and arguments are extremely well thought out (6 years in research and writing) and he has managed to lay it all out in such a way that will keep you turning pages. Riddled with humorous anecdotes and undeniable facts he weaves the plight of the natives in a real and understandable way that few, if any, have to date.
I believe that if this book were put into the school curriculum, future generations might well be better equipped to negotiate more amicably as ongoing and future treaties are dealt with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JP on Jan. 5 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is educational and Thomas King's writing makes it accessible to everyone. It has the same humor and wit of King's other books, such as the Truth About Stories and Green Grass Running Water. It provides an account of colonialism in North America and of how this has shaped contemporary relations between First Nations and Non Natives. I strongly recommend this book to anyone that would like to learn about colonialism in North America.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ROBERT OUELLETTE on Dec 6 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was an excellent book to read. It started out with lots of humour and eventually became very angry. Thomas King did an interview on the radio show at the Edge of Canada about his book and he explains why it is so important to re-look at colonial history and the popular images we have of FN people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marsh Walker on Jan. 27 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is repetitive, unsubstantiated, un-nuanced and not deserving of the high praise that it has received. If people want to read an excellent non-fiction account that is bolstered by carefully assembled and referenced facts, then try The Ecological Indian. If people want to read vivid and beautifully written fiction, then try The Orenda. Both of these books bring understanding and sympathy to the difficulties faced by our First Nations. King's book, by preaching to the converted, does nothing to shed light on Canada's most complex and, so far, intractable problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookweasel TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 29 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not a history of the Native American but is more in the nature of a long essay or series thereof on the place of the Indian in North America. The author draws on various facts, sources and his own experience and weaves together where he believes that place is. It is not a good place for most Indians. The book is well written in an almost conversational style that moves the reader along. It is interesting and though it contains nothing new by way of facts it draws them together to illustrate the authors feelings and point of view. For those of us who are leery of Government there is much here to vindicate our wariness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Don Myers on Feb. 26 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thomas King's An Inconvenient Indian is an entertaining yet disturbing account of government policy (in both Canada and the U.S.) dealing with the original inhabitants of North America. After reading this, civil disobedience actions by aboriginal groups makes sense. Its clarity readability make it an essential text on government "Indian" relations.
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