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500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians Hardcover – August 6, 2002


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Hardcover, August 6, 2002
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy (August 6, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517163942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517163948
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The companion volume to the 1995 popular PBS series of the same name, 500 Nations is a richly illustrated, absorbingly written history of North America's indigenous peoples. Drawing on creation stories, oral history, archaeological evidence, federal documents, and hundreds of published sources, Josephy takes us on an encyclopedic journey through Native America's past and present. Few scholars have Josephy's command of his broad and complex subject, and fewer still write as dexterously. The result: the best one-volume, general-interest study of Native American history now available. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This stunningly illustrated companion to a forthcoming CBS television series (produced by Kevin Costner, James Wilson and Jack Leustig) stands on its own as a stirring introduction to hundreds of distinct Native American nations that once blanketed the North American continent. Largely a story of conquest, displacement, betrayal, genocide and forced assimilation, the book wondrously fuses an eloquent text and more than 450 illustrations, most in color, to convey a sense of each tribe's culture, social structure and struggle to survive in the face of white settlers' encroachments. Distinguished historian Josephy (The Patriot Chiefs) has written an extraordinary work focusing on a Native American viewpoint, which ranges from the ancient Maya and Olmec civilizations of Mexico to Hopewellian mound-builders of the Ohio Valley who forged a continent-wide trade network before A.D. 500, to the democratic Nez Perces of Idaho, Washington State and Oregon, nearly exterminated by 1880. 100,000 first printing; History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
She loves the book and says it is fun to read.
Ronald Goins
This book opened my eyes to my heritage as a Native American (Hopi/Zuni).
Amanda J. White
It is very informative, sensitive, and beautifully illustrated.
"bigbrian12"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on January 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully illustrated history of the Indian nations of North and Central America, From pre-Columbian times to the present. The text is straight forward and easy to read. The entire book is illustrated with rare and enticing paintings, photos, and drawings which help to recreate a powerful history of an ancient people. 500 Nations covers the history of the prehistoric peoples, the arrival of Columbus and the conquest of the New World. It shows how the world of the North American Indians was changed by growing contact with white traders and how, in the end, their world was entirely overwhelmed by the powerful drive of Manifest Destiny. This is definately meant as an introduction to the subject and thus does not delve deeply into the the meat of the matter, but it is still well worth the price for anyone interested in the history of our land and its original inhabitants.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amanda J. White on May 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book opened my eyes to my heritage as a Native American (Hopi/Zuni). Straightforward writing, beautiful illustrations & wonderful pictures. I liked this book because it is a comprehensive study of the First Nations through prehistoric times to the Great Civilizations on to the time of Columbus and the coming of the Europeans. Finally, to the dissemination & destruction of the Native People's religion & culture. This book delves into an often overlooked period of American history- the Native slave trade. For hundreds of years Native peoples were kidnapped and forced into servitude, either sent to European countries or to European owned plantations in the Caribbean. The average Native died within a year after being captured due to harsh cruelty or European disease for which they had no immunity. European diseases wiped out whole tribal populations. I fully recommend that anyone interested in real American history reads this book.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Throughout my days in school, prior to college, the history classes taught me a sugar coated version of what happened in our history. Obviously, history is indeed written by the victors, and most likely, the version will be slanted towards making the ones in charge look good. This book did not focus on an anthropological study, but rather the effects of the Europeans upon the many tribes. In almost all cases, the effect was horrific for the native tribes. If you want to know what injustices were done to the Native Americans by historical figures such as Columbus, for example, read this book. It is not easy to read, but it does open your eyes to how this country came to be.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is a grand overview of the history of the native peoples of North America, from the time of first settlement until their ultimate confrontations with European immigrants. Josephy takes us on a tour of the continent from the Mayan and Aztec civilizations to the Inuits. For each group of people, he describes their major accomplishments and customary ways of life. He then traces what happened to the tribes when Europeans determined to take away their lands or resources.

Although I thought I knew a fair amount about the history of Native Americans, as I read this book, I became more and more aware of the enormity of my ignorance. For example, I always wondered before why there were no Native American cities-but Josephy explains that that there were indeed numerous large cities in North America before the arrival of Europeans, but for some reason, most people have never heard of them. Native American history has been suppressed to the extent that school kids never come to understand Native Americans as having any history at all. They never hear about the role the Native Americans played in the early wars over the sovereignty of the continent, let alone the policies of genocide set in place in the Nineteenth Century. It's time that more of this information gets included in general school curricula.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jaimie L. Shaw on February 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must have for all U.S. households, along the with the DVD's. It is important for adults and children alike to know the Truth, as harsh as it is. I watched each disc with my two children and they were engrossed with each episode. We have used the book for research for school reports and on the local Native American history for my job. This book is an eye opener for some teachers.

I bought the book and the VHS tapes when they first came out, after watching the show on PBS. After I watched the VHS tapes several times, I borrowed them to my Dad, who has never given them back! I told him to keep them, when I purchased the DVD's.

I have also purchased this book for friends and family who are interested in Native American history. It has been great to see what some of our ancestors were really like and how they were treated by the white men. If you do genealogy, or know that you have Native American ancestors or even closer relatives, you should definitely read this book. I can say that the way my ancestors were treated, angered me a lot. Prepare to feel anger and guilt for what the white men did. But most of all, share your knowledge with someone else, who has the wrong idea about the Native Americans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dee Taylor on July 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had this book and then lost a 42 year collection of books when my home burned down two years ago. Didn't think I'd find another one. At my age now, I am only replacing the nonfiction big picture books and picture/text. I can read anything I want from the library. I liked that the vendor was a nonprofit organization as well. I liked the quick service and the book was impossible to tell from a new one. Thanks.
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