Catalogue


Before the Revolution : America's ancient pasts /
Daniel K. Richter.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.
description
viii, 502 p. : ill., maps.
ISBN
0674055802 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780674055803 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.
isbn
0674055802 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780674055803 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Prologue : layered pasts -- Progenitors -- Legacies of power from medieval North America -- Legacies of conquest from medieval Europe -- Conquistadores -- Crusades of the Christ-bearers to the Americas -- Crusades of the protestants to new worlds -- Traders -- Native Americans and the power of trade -- Epidemics, wars, and the remapping of a continent -- Planters -- Searching for order in new and old England -- Planting patriarchy in New England and Virginia -- Dutch, French, Spanish, and English alternatives -- Imperialists -- Monarchical power reborn -- Planters besieged -- Revolution, warfare, and a new transatlantic order -- Atlanteans -- Producing and consuming in an Atlantic empire -- People in motion in slavery and freedom -- Contending for a continent -- Gloomy and dark days -- Epilogue : present pasts.
catalogue key
7599555
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2011-04-01:
In Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America, Richter (American history, Univ. of Pennsylvania) offers a nuanced study of the United States from the arrival of Europeans to the Jacksonian era through the prism of its Native American inhabitants; here, as in his former book, he uses the American Revolution as a demarcation point. He demonstrates that U.S. history did not begin with the American Revolution, convincingly arguing that the ideas that manifested themselves in the mid-18th century with the rebellious colonists had their origins in such varied locales as the Mississippian Southeast and Europe of the Middle Ages. Conflicting Christian religious ideas sprouted from Catholic conquistadors and multiple groups of Protestants. Influences came not only from Europeans but Native Americans and Africans. Although many of these peoples were subjugated and in some cases exterminated over time, Richter shows that they still made a lasting contribution to the story of what would eventually become the United States. VERDICT Any history written by this preeminent historian is an essential read for everyone interested in the deeper history of the United States.-John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2011-12-01:
Richter's unusual and useful synthesis of North American history between 1000 and 1763 begins by showing how global climate developments initially shaped parallel human patterns in North America and Europe. Then social and political currents diverged and shaped Europe's initial "crusade" in North America. After 1600, traders brought warfare and epidemics along with prestige goods to Natives, but the more significant damage came with English efforts to gain "patriarchal landed power" in Virginia and New England and the policies of Charles II that established new colonies and "profoundly, violently transformed North America." At this point, Richter (Dickinson College) focuses on how, into the mid-1700s, imperial administrators opposed provincial assemblies, promoted slavery and liberty of conscience, and increased England's power and military strength in the long global war with France. Though these policies could have stabilized relations with Indians, the unceasing efforts by Colonial elites and settlers to take more Native land exploded in terrible backcountry violence left unsettled by the Treaty of Paris. Richter concludes by reflecting on the often-contradictory conditions of the Colonial US--power and freedom, bigotry and liberty--and their reflections in the modern US. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. D. R. Mandell Truman State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
So far it is one of my two or three favorite non-fiction titles of the year...Definitely recommended.
The core of the work is a vivid, well-paced, stimulatingly opinionated and provocatively selective history of colonial Anglo-America...[A] spirited and engaging history of British North America...Richter's trenchant language excites enthusiasm. He evokes picturesque episodes engagingly--the agonies of Roanoke, the role of European goods in Powhatan power structures, the peripeties of indentured servants, the intolerance of Protestant fanatics, the poverty of seventeenth-century colonial home life, and the struggles of proprietors, rebels and crowns.
By placing early American history fully in its Atlantic contexts and seeing all participants as historical agents, Before the Revolution allows us to understand the genuine parallels as well as the contrasts in the experience of Americans through their layered pasts.
Once every quarter-century or so, a book of great sweep and synthetic sophistication bursts onto the scene to recast our understanding of early American history. This masterful study, with its startling comparisons of European patterns of conquest, colonization, chaos, and cultural convergence, is a must-read.
With breathtaking sweep and profound learning, Daniel K. Richter synthesizes the histories of Europe, North America, and the Atlantic world from the late Middle Ages to the late eighteenth century -- and he does it, in ways that no previous writer has managed, without carving his story into discontinuous regional narratives or succumbing to the teleology of the American Revolution. This book is nothing less than a masterpiece.
Ultimately, [Richter's] history is a history of violence, of violence perpetrated by Europeans against Native Americans, by Native Americans against Europeans, and by both peoples against their own kith and kin. It is a dark and brutal story, although one in which the Native Americans are shown as for long holding their own, manipulating Europeans as trading partners and playing off one set of Europeans against another until the overwhelming British victory of 1763 no longer made this possible. There is precious little uplift here, and little sense of the more constructive characteristics of the brave new world that was rising amid the wreckage of the old. But, in patiently uncovering the layers beneath the rubble, Richter forcefully brings home to us that the American past belongs to many peoples, and that none should be forgotten.
[An] unusual and useful synthesis of North American history between 1000 and 1763.
[Richter] demonstrates that U.S. history did not begin with the American Revolution, convincingly arguing that the ideas that manifested themselves in the mid-18th century with the rebellious colonists had their origins in such varied locales as the Mississippian Southeast and Europe of the Middle Ages...Any history written by this preeminent historian is an essential read for everyone interested in the deeper history of the United States.
The most important history books make us rethink things we think we know. In Before the Revolution: America's Ancient Pasts, Daniel Richter shows us a land built by successive waves of adventurers, immigrants and merchants, one atop the other. He insists on the primacy of human action in history--something not always popular in academia today.
An astute, thoroughly enjoyable mixture of political, economic and social history that culminates in a turbulent 18th-century North America whose people did not consider themselves on the verge of revolution but knew that things were not right.
An elegantly written attempt to see colonial America from the indigenous perspective...In Richter's grand system, the continent's history comprises successive waves of adventurers, one atop another. Although the American Revolution "submerged these earlier strata," he argues that they nonetheless "remained beneath the surface to mold the nation's current contours." Walking atop the topmost strata, in other words, are thee and me, the terrain around us shaped by those who came first. The approach is bold, original and insightful...[A] masterly account... Before the Revolution is a book that by its very boldness invites intelligent argument. Every few decades, historians develop a new way of looking at the past. I am not talking about "revisionism" but unifying conceptual schemes, the sort of mental framework that Frederick Jackson Turner created in his argument for the importance of the frontier to our history or that Bernard Bailyn established in his studies of the American Revolution's ideological origins. Historians debated Turner for a long time and continue to debate Bailyn. I wouldn't be surprised if they were arguing with Richter a decade from today.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, April 2011
Reference & Research Book News, June 2011
Kirkus Reviews, July 2011
Choice, December 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Exploring a vast range of original sources, this work spans more than seven centuries and ranges across North America, Europe, and Africa. Richter recovers the lives of a stunning array of peoples as they struggled with one another and with their own people for control of land and resources.
Main Description
America began, we are often told, with the Founding Fathers, the men who waged a revolution and created a unique place called the United States. We may acknowledge the early Jamestown and Puritan colonists and mourn the dispossession of Native Americans, but we rarely grapple with the complexity of the nations pre-revolutionary past. In this pathbreaking revision, Daniel Richter shows that the United States has a much deeper history than is apparent-that far from beginning with a clean slate, it is a nation with multiple pasts that stretch back as far as the Middle Ages, pasts whose legacies continue to shape the present. Exploring a vast range of original sources, Before the Revolution spans more than seven centuries and ranges across North America, Europe, and Africa. Richter recovers the lives of a stunning array of peoples-Indians, Spaniards, French, Dutch, Africans, English-as they struggled with one another and with their own people for control of land and resources. Their struggles occurred in a global context and built upon the remains of what came before. Gradually and unpredictably, distinctive patterns of North American culture took shape on a continent where no one yet imagined there would be nations called the United States, Canada, or Mexico. By seeing these trajectories on their own dynamic terms, rather than merely as a prelude to independence, Richters epic vision reveals the deepest origins of American history.
Main Description
America began, we are often told, with the Founding Fathers, the men who waged a revolution and created a unique place called the United States. We may acknowledge the early Jamestown and Puritan colonists and mourn the dispossession of Native Americans, but we rarely grapple with the complexity of the nation's pre-revolutionary past. In this pathbreaking revision, Daniel Richter shows that the United States has a much deeper history than is apparent-that far from beginning with a clean slate, it is a nation with multiple pasts that stretch back as far as the Middle Ages, pasts whose legacies continue to shape the present. Exploring a vast range of original sources, Before the Revolution spans more than seven centuries and ranges across North America, Europe, and Africa. Richter recovers the lives of a stunning array of peoples-Indians, Spaniards, French, Dutch, Africans, English-as they struggled with one another and with their own people for control of land and resources. Their struggles occurred in a global context and built upon the remains of what came before. Gradually and unpredictably, distinctive patterns of North American culture took shape on a continent where no one yet imagined there would be nations called the United States, Canada, or Mexico. By seeing these trajectories on their own dynamic terms, rather than merely as a prelude to independence, Richter's epic vision reveals the deepest origins of American history.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Exploring a vast range of original stories, this book spans more than seven centuries and ranges across North America, Europe, and Africa. Richter recovers the lives of a stunning array of peoples as they struggled with one another and with their own people for control of land and resources.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Layered Pastsp. 3
Progenitors
Legacies of Power from Medieval North Americap. 11
Legacies of Conquest from Medieval Europep. 37
Conquistadores
Crusades of the Christ-Bearers to the Americasp. 67
Crusades of the Protestants to New Worldsp. 88
Traders
Native Americans and the Power of Tradep. 121
Epidemics, War, and the Remapping of a Continentp. 143
Planters
Searching for Order in New and Old Englandp. 171
Planting Patriarchy in New England and Virginiap. 187
Dutch, French, Spanish, and English Counterpointsp. 212
Imperialists
Monarchical Power Rebornp. 241
Planters Besiegedp. 265
Revolution, War, and a New Transatlantic Orderp. 295
Atlanteans
Producing and Consuming in an Atlantic Empirep. 327
People in Motion, Enslaved and Freep. 346
Contending for a Continentp. 369
Gloomy and Dark Daysp. 388
Epilogue: Present Pastsp. 417
Notesp. 425
Further Readingp. 450
Creditsp. 462
Acknowledgmentsp. 470
Indexp. 473
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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