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Treaties and Treachery Paperback – May 15, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

<div>"The picture is stark, but Mr. Nelson brings it to life." Kevin Winter, Portland Book Review</div> (Kevin Winter Portland Book Review) --Portland Book Review

About the Author

Kurt Nelson attended George Washington University and graduated from Portland State University with degrees in political science and history.  Kurt has also earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Lewis and Clark College as well as a Certificate in Crime and Intelligence Analysis from the California State University at Sacramento.<div></div>
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Caxton Press; 1st edition (May 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870044990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870044991
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,126,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Treaties and Treachery is a fine book that all who love the Northwest must know. It is candid without being bitter, colorful without being hyperbolic. Its panoramic vista of our region is compacted into a taut narrative of individuals and their cultural struggles.

Mr. Nelson's gift to the reader is that he shows the effect named men and their decisions had and continue to have upon the land and its people. This book is not an activist's chronicle of crimes against humanity. Nor is it a rehash of a faceless and mechanistic implementation of Manifest Destiny that becomes human only when it confirms white settlement to be the program of frontier Eichmanns.

After the author describes the actions of the principle white administrators he asks of the two most central, "Were Isaac Stevens and Joel Palmer evil men acting to deprive the Indians of what was rightfully theirs?" It is an excellent question to ask and one the modern polemicist would never ask. The modern simply assumes it to be the case. The question and the answer that Nelson supplies contain a humanity seldom found in modern analysis of the white and the aboriginal world of North America.

The terrain of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana is itself exciting and when peopled with Tribal lords such as the Yakima Kamiakin and Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox of the Walla Walla it is irresistible. The character of these men was molded by the weather, wildlife, and landscape which gave them life: Nelson's clear depiction of this confluence of man and land is done with dignity and without romance. The Rousseauian pretty primitive is absent from this text, while troubled men and women who struggle for their day and for their future animate every page.
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This is a very well balanced, very readable history of interaction and consequences between settlers and the first inhabitants of pacific northwest terrain. The author does an illuminating job of characterizing the interaction between tribes and language groups as they grappled with invasion. The detail regarding strategies of negotiators and their cultural blinders — and interweaving the power of the first “tea party” politicians (nativists) as the Whig party was disintegrating is fascinating. I’ve read isolated bits and pieces about skirmishes between settlers and natives, but never seen the links between events in that short window of time and throughout such a large region — rather set off as it seems to have been from the rest of the country. Just a superb and conscientious job.
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