West of the Revolution: PART 1 of 2: An Uncommon History of 1776. by Claudio Saunt

Feb 24, 2018, 04:45 AM


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West of the Revolution: PART 1 of 2:  An Uncommon History of 1776. by Claudio Saunt

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