The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America (Cultural Origins of North America)

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9780195035964: The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America (Cultural Origins of North America)

Colonial North America was not only a battleground for furs and land, but for allegiances as well. While the colonial French and English were locked in heated competition for the most native allies, the Indians sought to preserve their own independence, alighning themselves only when necessary with the colonial group that offered the best material and spiritual wares. Here, ethnohistorian James Axtell takes a fresh look at this contest of cultures to reveal why and how the French and Indians were able to rise so effectively to the challenge posed by English imperial design. Although the English offered better trade goods, they were ultimately defeated by their own stubborn need to impose their way of life on the reluctant native Americans. The French Jesuits, on the other hand, managed to keep the English at bay for a century and a half by adapting themselves to native life and so converting thousands of Indians to Catholicism. this is the first of three volumes in James Axtell's new series, THE CULTURAL ORIGINS OF NORTH AMERICA. The series is designed to provide an overview of the realtions between the three separate cultures that together formed America's roots, and offers a new perspective on America's colonial past.

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About the Author:

James Axtell is at College of William and Mary.

Review:

"The best introduction now available to the problem of cultural conversion in the New World."--The New York Times Book Review

"Offers an impressive array of insights."--The Historian

"Axtell is one of the finest practitioners of this history of real persons, and his style makes him one of its most graceful writers."--The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"The most ambitious and sophisticated contribution to early American ethnohistory to date."--Alden T. Vaughan, Columbia University, in William and Mary Quarterly

"A stimulating and important contribution to our understandingd of cultural relations in colonial America."--Pacific Historical Review

"[Axtell's] scope, pace, and clarity are unprecedented....Readers new to the field can use this volume as a reliable introduction and guide."--The Catholic Historical Review

"This work summarizes current scholarship regarding many topics. The author focuses on the mutual impact that French, English, and Indian cultures made on each other from earliest contact to the beginning decades of the eighteenth century. He stays largely within the northeast culture area
and describes ways in which indigenous tribes confronted Jesuit and Puritan representations of Christian civilization. This synthesis combines broad coverage with balanced judgements to produce a gratifying, solid narrative. It is, moreover, a delight to read....Because its scope, pace, and
clarity are unprecedented. It brings disparate voices of the time together in splendid synthesis."--The Catholic Historical Review

"Lucid, packed with detail...the book stands as a provocative study of the psychology and consequences of missionary work, and of the resistance to it."--Times Literary Supplement

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