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Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization Hardcover – August 21, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Armed with guns, horses, and machines, European settlers relentlessly mowed down, pushed aside, and in some cases enslaved peaceful natives they found living in the new worlds they were overrunning. Reaching back to antiquity, they resurrected myths about one-eyed giants and other monsters to rationalize the harsh treatment they were visiting on Indians and Mexicans. Later, they would deploy very similar rhetorical strategies to justify extermination and enslavement in other parts of the world. The suspicion grows that Western agents are the savages and the peace-loving natives the superior race. Savage Anxieties explains how, like bad money driving out good, a savage society will win every time.” ―Richard Delgado, professor, Seattle University School of Law and author of Critical Race Theory

About the Author

Robert A. Williams, Jr. is a member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe as well as the professor of law and director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona. He is the author of the classic work on Indian rights under US law, The American Indian in Western Legal Thought, which won the Gustavus Meyer human rights award recently. The recipient of awards from the MacArthur, Ford, and Soros foundations, Williams is also well known for his work defending tribal groups before the United Nations and the Supreme Court.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230338763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230338760
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. W. Chambers on August 31, 2013
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Robert Williams is a major scholar, and this book will only enhance is already considerable reputation. This is one of those grand histories of European thought that begins with the ancient Greek invention of the idea of the savage, following the development of this concept right down to the present, where it is still being used "to justify violations of the most basic human rights". His analytical and carefully reasoned account is essential to understanding the modern perpetuation of stereotypes, especially in the Native American context.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best book I've read in a long time. Williams is absolutely brilliant in his analysis. He ripped apart history to make room for truth. Everyone should read this book in order to understand reality. I loved it!
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A clearly written summary (~250 pgs) of how ideas regarding the simple, uncivilized, lawless, propertyless, pure, uncorrupted, erotic and exotic savage, perceived as outside of, and threatening to, western civilization, has influenced how europeans and their settlers justified and understood expansion against, and suppression of, the 'savages' from ancient Athens to modern America, Australia and Canada.
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The author uses his clear erudition to force the reader to to face the hard question of one's baked in prejudices that are used by "special interests" to enrich themselves at the expense of the powerless. A more broadly applicable question in this country than just Indian rights. The book reads a bit like a legal brief but the author's deep knowledge of the history and his revealing the clay feet of our leading lights in our part of this history make it worth reading.
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Book was for someone else. But I read it when available. I heard the author speak with Bill Moyers and knew the book was worthwhile. I know for sure that some U.S. laws based on Colonial legal decisions are depriving Native Americans of lands to which only they have a right. Some are Papal Statements which are underpinnings for U. S. laws which are still on the books.
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"Savage Anxieties" is an excellent help to understand the development of the Ancient Greek View about the Savages and the embracement of such a view by later cultures and societies. Highly Recommended to understand the origin and some of the developments about the idea of one's own superior society and/or culture and potential the discrimination and/or rejection of someone's else culture and/or society.
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Captivating narrative, well-informed, rich content in regards to native issues. Not insightful or academically accurate in regards to the book's non-native analogies, evaluative claims or overall analysis.
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Very timely & poignant book especially in regards to American Sniper and the killer's constant justifications for 'killing savages'.
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