"Informed in its scholarship, rationally organized, and written in clear, graceful prose, this volume is extraordinarily comprehensive in its treatment of Arkansas' past. . . . By any manner of reckoning, this is an extraordinarily valuable addition to historical literature, one that provides a highly readable and comprehensive account."Willard Gatewood, from the Foreword
From the Inside Flap
Four distinguished scholars, each focusing on a particular era, track the tensions, negotiations, and interactions among the different groups of people who have counted Arkansas as home. George Sabo III discusses Native American prehistory and the shocks of climate change and European arrival. He explores how surviving native groups carried forward economic and docial institutions, which in turn proved crucial to early colonists. Morris S. Arnold examines the native communities and the roles of minority groups and women in the development of law, government, and religion; the production of goods; and market economies. Jeannie M. Whayne shows how these multicultural relationships unfolded during hte subsequent era of American settlement. But mutuality ended when white settlers transplanted plantation agriculture and slavery to formerly native lands. Thomas DeBlack shows that the plantation society, while prosperous, also brought the state into the Civil War. He analyzes banking fiascoes, the state's reputation for violence, the mixed blessings of statehood, and the war itself. Whayne returns to discuss different groups' access to the political process; prostwar economic issues, including women's work; and the interrelated problems of industrialization, education, and race relations. The Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, transformed political and social landscapes, but vestiges of the old attitudes and prejudices remain in place.