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The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents, 2nd Edition
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2002
This book tells the story of American ethnic cleansing against the Cherokee nation through an admirable combination of primary documents and the editors' analyses. Perdue and Green begin with a short but sophisticated history of the Cherokee from their first interaction with Europeans to their expulsion from the region where Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama meet. We are then directed through a variety of documents commenting on several important themes: the "civilizing" of the Cherokee (i.e. their adoption of European culture), Georgia's leading role in pressuring the Cherokee off their land and pushing the federal government to remove them by force, the national debate between promoters and opponents of expulsion, the debate within the Cherokee nation, and a brief look at the deportation itself.
Hearing the voices of those who framed the debate and the Cherokee themselves allows the reader to appreciate exactly how complicated the situation really was. Pro-removal Americans make racist judgments of the Cherokee but cast their arguments in humanitarian rhetoric. Pro-emigration Cherokee harshly criticize the Cherokee leadership as corrupt and disdain traditional Cherokee culture. American defenders and the Cherokee leadership deploy legal and moral arguments in a futile effort to forestall American violence.
Yet the situation was even more complex than the editors convey. They ignore the very real class divisions within Cherokee society: the land- and slave-owning elite afraid of losing their property in the expulsion; the "middle class", resentful of elite privilege and hoping to seize leadership after emigration by betraying the nation and negotiating a sham treaty with the Americans; and the less Europeanized majority simply seeking to avoid forced deportation from their homes. Perdue and Green also ignore the larger political situation in the United States, namely the struggle between pro-Jackson Democrats and the emerging Whig opposition that resulted in a surprisingly close 102-97 House vote on the issue (try to imagine a vote that close over the latest example of government violence in pursuit of resources, the coming Iraq war). Particularly disappointing is a lack of any internal documents from the Jackson administration that might give insight into the motivations of the ethnic cleansers themselves.
Despite these deficiencies (and despite the editors' insistence on "modernizing" capitalization and punctuation), the book provides a good overview of the US-Cherokee conflict and a taste of what it's like to work with primary sources. It opens our eyes to how some of the most prominent Americans could embrace ethnic cleansing and revives the voices of those Americans and Cherokee who stood up against imperialism even when there was no hope of victory.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2001
I read this book as part of my Native American History class and I truly enjoy this book. "Cherokee Removal" brings its readers, chronologically to the inevitable "Trail of Tears" where the government brought in troops and forced the Cherokees into stockades where they walked to Oklahoma, in terrible conditions, insufficient food, and a lot of the Cherokees died during the journey.
This books gave its readers access to primary documents, such as treaties, and letters written by Cherokees themselves, and it presents both views, from Euro-Americans who supported removal, who opposed removal and likewise for the Cherokees. By examining the primary documents, we can gain insights into how leaders like Andrew Jackson thought of the removal as a crucial step for Cherokees "survival".
The state of Georgia, defying the Supreme Court's rulling in Worcester v Georgia, in favor of the Cherokees, brought in troops, seize the Cherokee's printing press, etc.
By reading this book, one can't help but feel that greed, ethoncentricity can bring people to be blinded by their own prejudice and make mistakes that bring such tragic consequences.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about the Cherokee Removal as other native american tribes suffered basically the same.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Theda Purdue is generally recognized as the pre-eminent Cherokee authority, but Ms Purdue lets the people who lived the events tell the story of the The Cherokee Removal. She, along with Michael Green, who is really more of a Creek Indian expert, uses contemporary letters, essays, and editorials to draw the reader into the plight of the Cherokee.
For example, in a chapter on United States Policy she uses Lewis Cass' justification of removal, and Andrew Jackson's State of the Union address to illustrate what the mind of the leaders of our country were like at the time of this great tragedy.
Perdue begins the book with a twenty-plus page introduction that tells the story of their civilization from the first man and woman to the removal from the Cherokee Nation in 1838.
When Purdue does interject her own opinion, it is well thought out and objective. After a discussion of the terms "Half Breed" and "Quadroon," she states "The concern with blood quantum reflected racist nineteenth-century thinking that linked ancestry and culture." Well said, and on the money...just like this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2010
This is an excellent book for the historian and for the casual reader. It is well written, and with the inclusion of transcripts of primary documents, is an authentic source of accurate information. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
I was afraid that this book would consist of boring, hard to read documentation, but it is well edited, with descriptions of the documents and narration of the story. I am quite pleased with it and glad that I chose it
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on January 13, 2014
This Book arrived on time. Book looks as new. I am looking to enjoy this book in history class and learn about the removal of Cherokee.
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on February 27, 2015
fast shipping item was as described.
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on August 19, 2015
Bought as gift, recipient loved it.
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on September 16, 2014
Excellent price and product...
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on August 2, 2015
Thank you great item.
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