on December 8, 2008
Yes, this work has shortcomings in both analytical precision and chronological awareness. But there are some very useful sections. Foremost is the section on writing and "record keeping." It counters many notions of written language as superior to "oral" cultures in war or conflict by showing the ways in which both forms of record keeping rely on many of the same bases for validation and reproduction. This is a good argument to keep in mind when reading even such accomplished works as Jill Lepore's The Name of War, which emphasizes, though in a complex way, the superiority of written language in cultural contestation.
on August 8, 2006
Shoemaker tries to sell the idea her book breaks new ground by looking at the ways Indians and Europeans shared similar cultural constructs throughout the 18th century. For instance, both groups used gendered language to call the other "women" as a form of insult. However, Shoemaker's analysis never goes beyond description and the vital concept of change over time is lost in a book too full of description and woefully lacking in critical analysis.
I suggest saving your money and reading Richard White's The Middle Ground, which is a much more nuanced argument about Indians in 18th century North America.