Conclusion: There is NO pleasant history of humankind. So just get on with it and read Claudio Saunt’s West of the Revolution, An Uncommon History of 1776.

One minute book review:

Why is it that people on one side of the globe think they have a right to the land of the people living on the other side of the earth?

Oh right–they’re all a bunch of greedy egocentric egomaniacs who are only interested in how to turn a profit. Yeah, I knew that.

Of course there’s genocide, racism and missionaries spreading misery in spades–but, there’s also the beaver trade and the Cuban connection too in West of the Revolution wherein Claudio Saunt fills history buffers in on what was going on elsewhere in North America during that war for some colonies’ economic independence from merry old England. This is an darkly entertaining and easy read with odd maps, chapter notes notes and a very strange illustration depicting beavers in action on page 129.  Saunt offers some very disturbing stories about human behavior on the part of everyone and a decided lack of brotherly love. Yeah, forget all the first Thanksgiving propaganda, it’s a no go in Alaska with the Russians and Aleuts. And Jesus Christ, what is it with the damn priests and their bad habits on west coast and the southwest? Some things just never change no matter what century you’re digging around in. I suppose that’s because human behavior doesn’t seem to be evolving for the better anywhere. I could, and might do, an in-depth review of this recent new book–but right now I’m settling for two thumbs up review mind mode. Why? Because I learned a few things, like why the Creeks tried so hard to get some real trade going with Cuba. They understood their dire economic situation quite well.  As for the Indians doing business with the Hudson Bay Company and others ~~ well, they could teach Wall Street a thing or two about insider trading of a certain sort.

And then there are those beavers and their dams . . . .  

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4 Comments

  1. Lisa said,

    September 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I can’t tell from your review if the beavers are a good thing or a bad thing.

    • September 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Lisa, the beavers are very interesting manipulators of ecological systems–and their pelts were worth a lot of money at one time. They’re great creatures and as such influenced economies and environment. As far as I’m concerned they’re great for ecosystems. Hunting them for their fur had very serious consequences for everyone. Good or bad—depends on the context of your perspective.

  2. slpmartin said,

    September 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hmm…may have to readt that one…thanks!

    • September 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Charles, I suspect you’d breeze through it in no time flat–or a long quiet weekend with few distractions.


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