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American Colonies: The Settling of North America, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 30, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
This book truly gives you a full-scale idea of what shaped the Americas into what they are today. Finally you can read about what was happening with the native population during the time of contact and conquest. Finally you can get an idea about the environmental and economical impacts of colonialization, both in the Americas and in Europe.
This book is truly a history of "actions" and not "thoughts". Often what we learn in American schools today is what the Puritans were thinking about doing, or what our founding fathers wanted to create out of the Americas. Instead, we learn about the actions they actually took. Which colonies took up the practice of slavery, and why? How succesful where the Puritans in being pure? What was Colombus really thinking?
While the book feels slanted to the leftist mentality, I think you'll find the author treats all groups fairly, focused on their actions and not their intentions. The few books I've read that tried to cover a more holistic history of the Americas usually go too far in the opposite direction, painting all colonists as depraved ravagers, and all natives as white-washed saints.Read more ›
Rather than attempting to cover the entire continent in a continuous chronology, Taylor breaks the book into 19 chapters, each describing one geographic area during a given time period (e.g. "Virginia 1570-1650," "New England 1600-1700"). I found this organizational choice to be very effective; it makes the scope of the topic manageable and also allows one to easily research a specific area. The chapter setup is all the better due to the content choices Taylor has made. Rather than focus solely on the 13 British colonies, the book also spends time on the Spanish and French settlements. I fear that many people think Columbus discovered North America in 1492 and then nothing happened until the Pilgrims landed in 1620. Taylor corrects that misperception by including two chapters on the Spanish settlements in Mexico, New Mexico, and Florida before even touching on the British colonies. There are also two chapters on New France and Canada that give greater meaning to the Seven Years War. I was most pleased, however, with the chapter discussing the British West Indies, a geographic area completely ignored by many US History courses. Yet as Taylor explains, the West Indies at that time were FAR more valuable to the Crown than the mainland colonies!Read more ›
The richness of this history comes by way of the various cultures that are included. From the perspective of the East coast of the continent, the story of colonialism involves the British and the Native Americans. When the view extends North to Canada then we include the French. What Taylor does is show the perspective from all angles, and this means that Spanish and Dutch influences were also important, the former especially so in the West.
Chapters on the history of different regions rather than single countries or islands highlights the fact that there were diverse influences which oftentimes overlapped and interacted. There are chapters on the Carolinas, the West Indies, New England, the Pacific Coast and Chesapeake region. Certainly not left out of this analysis is the huge role Africa and its sons and daughters played in the settlement of our continent.
This is the first Volume in the Penguin History of the United States. It seems ironic then that the books main argument is that the colonization, settlement and growth of the AMERICAN COLONIES was a process in which the eventual emergence of the US was only a very dim vision on the far horizon. The book is well written, thoroughly researched and deeply insightful. Although it is colonial history, its tale as told here has as much resonance and meaning for us today as it must have had in living it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A comprehensive record of the entire colony history of North America. Dozens of clear maps. The author has a fair historical point of view, giving an objective account of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by kevinvon
This well written and somewhat innovative survey of colonial N. America is the first volume in a projected 5 volume Penguin History of the USA. Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. Albin
I love this book!
There is so much more to know about American history, and this book does an excellent job in providing you with those details that have never been taught in... Read more