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Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America Paperback – March 29, 2006


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Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America + The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People + Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia (Melungeons: History, Culture, Ethnicity, & Literature)
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Product Details

  • Series: Melungeon
  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press; 1St Edition edition (March 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865548617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865548619
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By sarasara on June 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Using historical documents and the most modern DNA research, Elizabeth Hirschman has turned upside-down the story of European settlement in pre-Colonial America. Her book includes lists of names over which one would not ordinarily pause, but she reveals their significance and links them by statistical analyses (a little difficult for the uninitiated) and cultural patterns which make her point: following expulsion from Spain and Portugal in the 1400s, many Arabs, Berbers, and Jews eventually migrated to the New World, mixing with local populations and living sequestered in the Appalacians as the reclusive population known as Melungeons.

The story of the Melungeons' various travels and the story of Hirschman's personal family discoveries are great reading and the book, overall, is an exciting detective story. For persons interested in geneaology, history, important Americans, human behavior, religion, or a fresh look at the development of Freemasonry, this book should not be missed. Its new findings may make obsolete many other books on library shelves.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Donald Yates on February 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Hirschman is a professor at Rutgers University and her research areas are social science applications within marketing, consumer behaviour, and advertising; archetype theory; historical analysis of marketing phenomena; and ethnicity. She is a member of the American Marketing Association, Association for Consumer Research, Society for Consumer Psychology, American Academy of Advertising, American Anthropological Association, and Semiotic Society of America. I am told she literally wrote the book on shopping as a marketable experience. She also comes from a Melungeon family and so wrote this book about the "last lost tribe in America." Here she explores what exactly the Melungeons' ethnicity is, and what that means for our understanding of such Americana as the legends of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, deviled eggs, Primitive Baptist churches, zithers, guitars, country music and a host of related phenomena.

The book began with DNA studies Hirschman undertook -- a completely novel approach. Recent attention has focused more on the history of discrimination against Melungeon people in the South, together with medical conditions like familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) to which they are subject. Her biogenetics study supported what Brent Kennedy had earlier proposed: The Melungeons are, *in part,* a Sephardic Jewish and Moorish community that began as early as 1540 with the De Soto expedition. Incoming Sephardic Jews and Moors, who had found refuge in such way stations as the Low Countries, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, and England after fleeing the Iberian Peninsula due to religious persecution, augmented the community over the centuries. There is nothing "possible" or "probable" about this.
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44 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Mark V. on January 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Listen, almost everyone who has a descendant in the early US has a family mention of an indian grandparent..etc. If not in your immediate line, then in a collateral line that married into your family somewhere. It is more common in some areas (the south, southwest, far western US) and less common in other locales- midwest, northeast/new england, for very specific cutural reasons and local population statitstics.

You find similar mixing in much of europe with minority contributions from Non-Europeans to the east and south, you find it in the Middle-East with surrounding non-semetic cultures. In Scandinavia at least 10-15% of the population have direct-line haplogroup identifiers that match to Asiatics who border them on the north and east, the majority of the rest are married in to these `direct lines` at some point...you get the point.

Out of your 1000 ancestors in the past TEN generations someone has SOME `other` heritage. The author chooses to `fixate` to a unhealthy extent on matters that at best are NOT supported by the scant conjecture- not evidence -offered (in the book), and at worst are stated as fact by someone intent on assigning others, who are uninformed, to a culture and/or ancestry when they are are not part of that ancestry or culture.

It would take a whole book to take apart the many falacies in this book. I have neither the time nor inclination. I will offer a few agregious issues as some will undoubtedly be decieved by the claims this book makes;

1) Page 44 and 45- a list of Y-DNA markers is given. The author has as her focus in this book the mission of portraying `Melungeons` (defined by the author, VERY loosely to encompass much of appalachia) as of jewish origin.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Leila Kirkconnell on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Don't pay attention to the negative reviews. This book is fantastic, and contains a wealth of information that I have not found anywhere else. My mother's maiden name was Wolfe and her family was supposedly Pennsylvania Dutch. We could never figure out how we ended up dark, swarthy, with curly hair. The mystery increased whenever we talked about religion or ancestry. The Wolfes will not discuss these things and they get uncomfortable when ever the subject comes up. They always claim they just do not know anything. I researched this for years and found out that the Pennsylvania Dutch are far from what they are believed to be. I did DNA testing that told me a lot but not about the Wolfes because I was not a direct male decendant. I did find out that my Wolfe ancestry probably goes back to Isaac Wolff, born in Germany about 1650. I suspected that the family had been Jewish although they publicaly were German Reformed. I also suspected that the family came from Spain and were refugees of the Spanish Inquisition. Elizabeth Hirschman filled in the blanks, and I doubt that I would have ever been able to put the puzzle together on my own. The Wolfe-Berber connection is most interesting and it also makes sense. Americans have created this mythical WASP ancestry, and most often for good reason, but the result is that we really do not know who we are. If you really want to know, read this book. You are bound to find an ancestor that was not what you have been told that he or she was.
Bob Wolfe Kirkconnell
Author of: American Heart of Darkness: Volume I: The Transformation of the American Republic into a Pathocracy (Volume 1)
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