Saturday, April 14, 2007

Book Review: "Red, White, and Black"

Gary Nash's Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early North America has been around so long it probably doesn't even need a review, but I'll offer some brief thoughts on it anyway. Now in the fifth edition (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006), Nash's book is a classic text on the interactions between white colonists, blacks (slave and free) and American Indians from the time of colonial settlement through the end of the Revolutionary War.

Nash goes to great lengths to point out the difficulties of generalizing the experiences of any group, given the wide diversity that existed within and amongst the various peoples who populated eastern North American in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and this new edition incorporates much recent scholarship while retaining the important historiographical threads. My one quibble is that Nash's footnotes almost always are from the older scholarly treatments - while he's worked the new research into the text, and provides the titles in the "further reading" lists at the end of each chapter, the citations themselves seem rather dated.

On the whole, an excellent study of colonial America and its people.