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One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark (History of the American West) Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most of us have a static view of Native American culture in the West; a 19th century snapshot with tribal characteristics and territories frozen in place. Calloway gives the reader a motion picture full of swirling migrations and altered identitites -- the result of altered climate, technology, as well as of European intervention. He integrates important events in native history into the timeline of world history in a way I have not previously encountered. As the Revolutionary War raged east of the Appalachians, a great smallpox epidemic that reduced native populations by 50-75% was raging to the west. The land Lewis and Clark explored was far emptier than it had been just a generation earlier.
The diffusion of corn-growing into cooler regions of North America, starting in the sixth century C.E. initiated a revolution in Native American life. At the time the Normans invaded England, the Cahokias were building monumental earthworks and plazas amid fields of corn at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi.Read more ›
The book has several very good features. One is the depiction of the adaptation of Native American cultures to changing circumstances, particularly climate change, the introduction of corn, the return of the horse and the acquisition of firearms. Another is the very valuable narrative thread throughout the book about trade with Europeans and the impact it had on Native Americans and on the relations of tribes to each other. Another is the section on the impact of the late 18th century smallpox epidemic. The book would be valuable for these alone.
If you would like to read more about trade with Europeans and the related impacts, I recommend "Before Lewis and Clark" by Shirley Christian.
But there are serious problems with the book. Where to begin? There are so many deficiencies that it is hard to pick a starting point.
Maps are few and late. Rivers are important to Native American history, but the first map showing a comprehensive view of the rivers of what is now the United States does not appear until page 127 and on that map the rivers are not named. The first map naming the rivers of what is now the northeast United States does not appear until page 229. Another map without river names appears on page 271. The Arkansas, Red, and Sabine Rivers are mentioned on page 105, but are not named on a map until page 329. The Angelina and Neches Rivers are also mentioned on page 105, but I cannot find them on any map in the book.Read more ›
Calloway has walked the trails of a continent in the fury of discovery and come away with the Golden Fleece, the Grail of getting the story right from everyone's perspective. Tall words but I think the author lives up to the billing. Based on the historical account and the points of view of the primary characters, including the oral historians of generations, Calloway weaves an unmistakably great work of art and wonder, nothing less that the tale of how we all got here to this moment, frozen in time, living on recerved lands, living on trust lands, living on conquered lands that now define all of us together as Americans.
This is the book Mann cited as the reason he did not include a chapter on the Western US in his seminal work, 1491. A few chapters in you know the reason why. Mann simply could not have bettered the effort. If history rocks, this history rocks much of what you ever thought you knew about the story of America. This book is bed rock knowledge and should be required reading in any institute of higher education.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an impressive treatment of a vast and often controversial subject. Although the details are sometimes daunting (e. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jerry
A good overall account of Meso America and related epochs. Scholars would call this a good synthesis of info,
data, facts and told very well and not getting too bogged down... Read more
we are using this book in our neighborhood American History discussion and we ALL like it. Opens up a whole New (actually, Old) World of peoples that existed thousands of years... Read morePublished on March 20, 2013 by catharine c. diehr
This is a masterful work of nonfiction. Though it does take a while to get through it, you are well rewarded throughout. Read morePublished on April 10, 2012 by Elanora R.
I read this book after reading "1491" by Charles Mann. (I recommend that book, too.)
This book covers how the people living in North America (mostly in the Great Plains)... Read more
This is a marvelous book. I've read a fair number of books on this subject, and One Vast Winter Count is by a considerable margin the best and most comprehensive I've encountered,... Read morePublished on March 31, 2010 by ccmann
One Vast Winter Count is an impressive effort that possesses a scope both expansive and easily traced. Read morePublished on January 29, 2009 by nto62