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Treaties and Treachery Paperback – May 15, 2011
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"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
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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.Read more ›