American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online
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A multicultural, multinational history of colonial America from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Internal Enemy and American Revolutions

In the first volume in the Penguin History of the United States, edited by Eric Foner, Alan Taylor challenges the traditional story of colonial history by examining the many cultures that helped make America, from the native inhabitants from milennia past, through the decades of Western colonization and conquest, and across the entire continent, all the way to the Pacific coast.

Transcending the usual Anglocentric version of our colonial past, he recovers the importance of Native American tribes, African slaves, and the rival empires of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and even Russia in the colonization of North America. Moving beyond the Atlantic seaboard to examine the entire continent, American Colonies reveals a pivotal period in the global interaction of peoples, cultures, plants, animals, and microbes. In a vivid narrative, Taylor draws upon cutting-edge scholarship to create a timely picture of the colonial world characterized by an interplay of freedom and slavery, opportunity and loss.

"Formidable . . . provokes us to contemplate the ways in which residents of North America have dealt with diversity." - The New York Times Book Review

Review

"Formidable...provokes us to contemplate the ways in which residents of North America have dealt with diversity." - The New York Times Book Review

"A superb overview of colonial America." - Christian Science Monitor

"Compelling, readable, and fresh, American Colonies is perhaps the most brilliant piece of synthesis in recent American historical writing." — Phillip J. Deloria, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor of American Culture and History at the University of Michigan

“Even the serious student of history will find a great deal of previously obscure information. The book offers a balanced understanding of the diverse peoples and forces that converged on this continent and influenced the course of American history.”  Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Crammed full of fascinating material uncovered by historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists in the past half-century.”  Newsday

About the Author

Alan Taylor’s books include William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for history and the Bancroft Prize in American History; The Internal Enemy, also awarded the Pultizer Prize; The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution. Taylor holds the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History at the University of Virginia.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Robert J. Crawford
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fatal encounters, brutal wars, and crass exploitation, along with missionaries and new masters
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2018
As comprehensive survey histories go, you can''t do much better than this one. It combines detail, analysis, and succinct narratives into an absolutely wonderful reading experience. Best of all, even though I knew the outlines of the history quite well, I learned something... See more
As comprehensive survey histories go, you can''t do much better than this one. It combines detail, analysis, and succinct narratives into an absolutely wonderful reading experience. Best of all, even though I knew the outlines of the history quite well, I learned something on every page and felt enthralled for all 500 pages.

America was discovered at the very beginning of the modern age, during what we would call the Renaissance, though many of the explorers resembled medieval pillagers at best; Europe was also moving into the Reformation, of course, which played out in the Americas in its own brutal ways. The Europeans had limited experience dealing with culture clash and shock, so they presumed their superiority over the "savage pagans" and hence treated the natives as slaves and animals, though there were a few humanitarian exceptions.

The Spanish arrived looking for slaves and gold, bringing the first wave of microbes that would kill up to 98% of the native populations. Their idea was to extract as much wealth as possible, though a few of them began to establish ranches and farms. Interestingly, the template for the conquistadors were the Canary Islands, which they essentially devastated - killing virtually all the natives, destroying the entire natural ecology, and installing themselves as slave plantation owners.

About 100 years later, the British began to attempt to colonize what became Virginia. After several catastrophic failures and wars with the Spanish, they succeeded in establishing a crude colony, based on indentured labor for the price of passage and tobacco plantations; it was loosely Anglican. England at that time was in social upheaval, so many wished to depart with hopes of a better life. This soon changed when New England was established, which was largely Puritan though with many other strict protestant sects. While relatively autarkic economically, once the highly profitable sugar plantations were established in Barbados and its nearby islands, there was finally a market for New England goods, stimulating the economy for fish and other staples that the West Indies could not produce for itself. The sugar plantations also served as template for slave plantations in the deep south.

The French established trading posts in Canada, working more cooperatively with the Indians because of the sparseness of French immigration. Most of their trade was in furs, which the Indians supplied in exchange for guns and metal tools. There were also Dutch and Swedish colonies in the mid-Atlantic, soon to be absorbed into the British Empire, which continued its incipient war with the French until the 18C.

Each colony had its own character, such as Quaker Pennsylvania under the Penn family, a kind of family franchise that boomed for a number of decades and was surprisingly tolerant. Most fascinating to me was the establishment of Rhode Island, a tolerant oasis for religious experimentation, by Roger Williams when he was exiled from Massachusetts for religious ideas that bordered on fanaticism.

Throughout the volume, Taylor is very critical of the behavior of the colonists, who in spite of many sincere efforts to treat the natives with dignity and respect essentially wound up taking whatever they wanted. As a result, surviving east coast Indians were either pushed west or simply massacred. Many of the tribes that emerged were actually amalgams of disease survivors, hence relatively new, though larger groupings, such as the Iroquois nations, remained players for longer periods. Of course, there were exceptional adaptations as well: when the Plains Indians acquired guns and horses, they expanded their populations and became formidable adversaries as newly established warrior cultures, though could never effectively unite; they also remained dependent on white men for gun powder and metal working.

Taylor goes into many of the cultural details of all parties involved, particularly the various Indian tribes. This is very fun, but due to the format of a comprehensive survey is superficial at best. The bibliography is also outdated, given that the book was written about 20 years ago. If I have a serious criticism, it is the lack of a sum-up chapter at the end, bringing together the complex strands that Taylor describes so well.

This is an unusually fun read for a survey history. Taylor does a great job at pointing out the brutal underbelly of what transpired, no holds barred, but also in historical context of what the protagonists were thinking. Recommended warmly.
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Tascha F.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Greatest overview ever
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2020
I hate the fact that I could have read this book when it came out, and I would have known this stuff for the last 19 years. What a complete waste of my life. It makes how we got where we are make so much more sense. Really this should be anti-racist 101 reading because... See more
I hate the fact that I could have read this book when it came out, and I would have known this stuff for the last 19 years. What a complete waste of my life. It makes how we got where we are make so much more sense. Really this should be anti-racist 101 reading because it is such a comprehensive account of how Europe''s imperial agenda depended upon slavery and how and why people were played off of one another from day one. You get a sense of how the U.S. both is both the headline, on the one hand, and a just a failed attempt of the English monarch''s to exact more taxes so they can do away with parliament (and its ability to block taxation) in Great Britain. It provides a sense of the complexity of different groups. For example, many indentured servants were exploited and abused but still many others were awarded hundreds of acres of land upon earning their freedom after only four years of servitude. Don''t waste another minute....read this book. I also listened to the audio version as I read along, which makes it more engaging because it really is a mind-blowingly fast-paced compendium of facts that manages to be riveting while not taking particular pains to bring individuals to life, say in the way Adam Hochschild does so nicely.
10 people found this helpful
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castper
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Informative Read
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2019
This was a class text. This was a great book that told of how America was established, even pre-European contact. It is important that people do not forget about the history of the First Nations peoples who had come to America before any Europeans had. This book does well... See more
This was a class text. This was a great book that told of how America was established, even pre-European contact. It is important that people do not forget about the history of the First Nations peoples who had come to America before any Europeans had. This book does well to shatter the stereotype of the First Nations people. They were a diverse people who had a rich culture and history. Contact with the Europeans changed everything. We can see in this book how Indians, Europeans, and Africans were shaping early America. This book goes in-depth on the 13 colonies and their impact on America. I would definitely recommend this book as it provides a rich and concise history of colonial America.
11 people found this helpful
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Gadget Man
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2014
This book presents a fascinating and detailed look at the settlement of the Americas. It covers the early Spanish and French explorers, the horrors committed by the Conquistadors, and an interesting perspective on the differences between the English colonists in Chesapeake... See more
This book presents a fascinating and detailed look at the settlement of the Americas. It covers the early Spanish and French explorers, the horrors committed by the Conquistadors, and an interesting perspective on the differences between the English colonists in Chesapeake (Virginia) and Massachusetts. Ever wonder why the Spanish colonized Central America, while the French operated in Canada, and the English colonized the Atlantic states? This book tells you. American Colonies also gives you a very detailed view of the history of the various Indian tribes both before and after the Europeans arrived. Until I read this book I never realized that Indians farmed corn and beans to such a great extent. Not only that, but the farming methods of the Indians on the Atlantic seaboard was far superior to the methods used by the early colonists. Much of the land used by the Massachusetts colonists for farming was first cleared by Indians who perished in astounding numbers by disease. The book also details the history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere, and describes why natives snared into slavery perished, and why slaves brought from Africa survived. If you enjoy reading about history of the Americas, this is a book you should read. Be mindful that its coverage goes way beyond the American colonies. It is really about the history of Central America, the Caribbean, the United States and Canada, focusing on the period between 1492 and 1820.
40 people found this helpful
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Peter Sharma
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best survey of early American History by far
Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2015
Alan Taylor surveys the history of settling of North America from its earliest inhabitants (scholarship as of 2000, could use an update) to the formation of the United States in a very thoughtful, non-partisan manner. This work is full of fascinating details. For example,... See more
Alan Taylor surveys the history of settling of North America from its earliest inhabitants (scholarship as of 2000, could use an update) to the formation of the United States in a very thoughtful, non-partisan manner. This work is full of fascinating details. For example, in its earliest forms in North America, slavery was not initially based on race but turned into racial chattel slavery in a very particular manner for a very particular reason. The Native Americans in California had a very sophisticated way of managing and shaping the "natural" environment. Taylor gives an excellent treatment of subjects that are not commonly treated in surveys, such as the differences between French, Spanish, and English settlements the causes and consequences of the Pueblo revolt, and how different Native American groups had cleverly managed to achieve a modicum of coexistence and balance with the colonial powers...until the Seven Years War, which then eventually led to the near total destruction of Native societies.
26 people found this helpful
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Robert Heffron
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The complexities of our evolution
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2021
This is a long and thorough book on the history of NorthAmerica and the background of the US. Reading it gives one a much deeper appreciation of the many different elements that shaped our country and an appreciation for how they endure Alan Taylor did an amazingly... See more
This is a long and thorough book on the history of NorthAmerica and the background of the US. Reading it gives one a much deeper appreciation of the many different elements that shaped our country and an appreciation for how they endure
Alan Taylor did an amazingly thorough job of research and writing in this effort to explain in some detail the many intricacies of the founding and development of North America. It. Stops short of the American revolution but sets the stage for its development and the subsequent westward expansion.
For anyone wanting to understand the discovery and the economic growth of North America I recommend this book.
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B. R. Muldoon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
History that reads like a novel
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2020
Alan Taylor has got to be one of America''s premier historians as well as writers (Fred Anderson as well). I was spellbound reading this book as I traveled the highways and byways of NYS and New England visiting sites of the conflicts in North America that preceded the... See more
Alan Taylor has got to be one of America''s premier historians as well as writers (Fred Anderson as well). I was spellbound reading this book as I traveled the highways and byways of NYS and New England visiting sites of the conflicts in North America that preceded the American Revolution.

I gave my copy of this book to my niece in grade school but it made such an impression on me I bought another copy. Over the last decade or so, of the hundreds of books I have read only Fred Anderson''s "Crucible of War" compared with Taylor''s work (though I do like Francis Parkman). How I wish these authors were more productive.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The scope of this book was excellent!!
Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2020
I have long wondered about the founding of the colonies. This was a fantastic book with a broad scope that answered many questions. I respected the authors capabilities so much that I purchased three other books on this subject by this author. I have a lot of reading to... See more
I have long wondered about the founding of the colonies. This was a fantastic book with a broad scope that answered many questions. I respected the authors capabilities so much that I purchased three other books on this subject by this author. I have a lot of reading to do but feel the perspective is worth it.

This material should be mandatory study in junior high, high school and in freshman college ...PERIOD. There is too much BS on the subject that has to be countered. The real truth should be known.

Really a great book.
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr. Lee Simpson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I enjoyed it .....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 16, 2010
I found this a very interesting book. I had wanted to fill in the gaps between Colombus and the American Revolution and this book did a superb job at that. I thought it was a well-written and user-friendly book that succeeded in keeping my attention throughout. Colonial...See more
I found this a very interesting book. I had wanted to fill in the gaps between Colombus and the American Revolution and this book did a superb job at that. I thought it was a well-written and user-friendly book that succeeded in keeping my attention throughout. Colonial American history lasted longer than US history has so far done and it was instructive to chart the gradual transformations of how in an unknown and challenging land societies evolved from a few starving and failing ''plantations'' to the wealthy, healthy and thriving cummunities of some million and a half people on the eve of their challenging and winning independence from the mother country. The role that Indians and Africans played in this drama is dealt with proportionately and sympathetically along with examining the diverse mix of nationalities, the various religious and economic motivations driving colonisation, the ''pushes and pulls'' of emigration, European rivalries and how this all coalesced to produce the nation that was to become the United States of America. In this 21st century, if you want to understand the American psyche then you need to look at its infancy and formative years.
18 people found this helpful
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LittleL
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2020
Excellent condition for used, well written. Good size volume. A little late in delivery but, it is the holidays
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Susan Jones
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Poor quality of book received.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2020
Something heavy had obviously been placed on the book in transit. There is a large crease along the middle part of the book + the Shape of the book itself is severely creased + distorted - not flat.
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aisha babb
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic book if you wish to understand American Colonisation pre ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2014
Fantastic book if you wish to understand American Colonisation pre and post. I thought I knew a lot about slavery and the original settlements of America but this book proved to be most insightful and thought changing. Author does not beat around the bush, tells it like it...See more
Fantastic book if you wish to understand American Colonisation pre and post. I thought I knew a lot about slavery and the original settlements of America but this book proved to be most insightful and thought changing. Author does not beat around the bush, tells it like it is and argues with historians matched with compelling evidence. Brilliant for study or just as a bedtime book!
3 people found this helpful
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Eldon Pethybridge
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Facts are sacred
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2018
A comprehensive detailed account of the settlement and lives of the arrivers through to the start of the nineteenth century. Well written.
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American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online

American Colonies: The high quality Settling of North America, new arrival Vol. 1 online