- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 16, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393240207
- ISBN-13: 978-0393240207
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 1st Edition
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The year 1776 was momentous and, as Saunt’s innovative survey shows, not only for American colonists rebelling against the British Empire. Beyond the Appalachian Mountains, events were in motion that would influence what peoples and powers would control North America. Geographically staged in nine regions of the continent, Saunt’s narratives broadly concern themselves with native peoples’ reactions to territorial expansions by European powers. On the Pacific coast, Russia advanced south from the Aleutian Islands, and Spain probed north from Mexico, with deleterious consequences for indigenous groups. Inland, the Lakota Sioux were migrating toward the Black Hills of modern South Dakota; the Osage of Missouri coped with the Spanish and British presence along the Mississippi River; and in the Southeast, the Creeks strove to obtain Spanish support against Americans expanding from Georgia. Saunt ably integrates local geographical and climatic conditions into the anxieties and actions of imperial officials on the scene while exhibiting insight into the predicaments faced by the pertinent Indian tribes. Taking uncommon perspectives, Saunt’s accounts will fascinate readers interested in the colonial history of North America. --Gilbert Taylor
“An engaging, original, and thought-provoking book on what was happening on the American continent in 1776 outside of our traditional line of sight. The result is a fascinating new look at the most familiar of years.”
- Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
“A dramatic and compelling new take on the North America of 1776. With careful research and in evocative writing, Saunt brilliantly recovers the cultural diversity and many possibilities of a continent dominated by native peoples and coveted by several empires.”
- Alan Taylor, author of The Internal Enemy (National Book Award Finalist)
“Move over, Minutemen: teeming with Sioux hunters, Creek farmers, Aleutian traders, Russian trappers, and Spanish missionaries, West of the Revolution portrays America in 1776 as we’ve never seen it before. In a vivid narrative sweeping from Alaska to Cuba, Claudio Saunt upends the conventional vision of this moment, oriented around a handful of statesmen in Philadelphia. He enriches this history with travel accounts, material culture, and consistent attention to the natural environment. A revelation.”
- Maya Jasanoff, author of Liberty’s Exiles
“What might the American Revolutionary period look like without the Revolution at its center? Claudio Saunt's remarkable book asks this counterintuitive question, and the results are revelatory. Its wide-ranging stories of different North American places and peoples are gems of historical investigation; together they reveal a continent gripped by upheaval, freedom struggles, and the search for new meanings.”
- Pekka Hamalainen, author of The Comanche Empire
“No one who reads it will think of 1776 the same way again.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Highly recommended as a balancing tonic to more conventional Revolutionary books.”
- Bethanne Patrick, Washingtonian
“[A] panoramic view of North America… rife with fascinating facts.”
- Jacob E. Osterhout, Newsweek
“West of the Revolution offers a bold and inclusive narrative… It presents a corrective to the long-reigning popular historical narrative that regarded peoples and places in the West as insignificant in the American story… [it] makes a significant contribution to our understanding of this volatile and formative period in American history.”
- Doug Kiel, Chicago Tribune
“Saunt spins a tale as compelling and awful as a ghost story. Time and again, encounters that begin with transactions―in furs, crops, or religion―end in exploitation, violence, genocide. The vast, unwieldy continent, in Saunt’s masterful portrait, seems itself to be a symbol of ungovernable resistance― a necessary and timely addition to the heroic creation story we celebrate on July 4.”
- Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
“This is a history more terrible than wondrous, a necessary counternarrative to our enlightened Revolution… Saunt stretches the scope of his history to provide context and background… He has created a sweeping narrative of noncolonial America in 1776. But he is at his most colorful when he finds individual stories, such as that of the Frenchman floating down the Arkansas River with ‘one severed head and the corpses of two of his companions.’ The strangeness of proto-American history may be found in the details.”
- Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
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Saunt shows that the colonies were a minor story in a continent of amazing long-distance trade and interaction between the native peoples. Along with those activities, sophisticated on their own, was the movement into the country of the Russians, Spanish, and French, all from different directions, to compete with the English, and all seeking to claim territory of completely unknown size and geography. This book is an eye-opener as to how the landscape was discovered, partitioned, and the interactions with the native peoples that have colored our opinions as a nation until today.
Read this book and change your knowledge of the early history of the United States.