At first glance, Virginia DeJohn Anderson’s Creatures of Empire is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the environmental history of early America; on closer observation, the work is very much more than this. Indeed, it is more a cultural history than an environmental history.
As social history’s highest tides recede, certain of its presumptions are exposed for reargument.
These books present reassessments of the colonizer/colonized relationship and how individuals and groups negotiated their space in conflict, spanning the period from earlier colonization to the brink of the American Revolution.
In the opening of his recent volume, Nature and History in the Potomac Country, historian James D. Rice informs his readers that the idea for the book began with what he perceived as a ‘hole in the map’ (p. 1).
John Smolenski, Associate Professor of History at University of California- Davis, begins his tome, Friends and Strangers: The Making of a Creole Culture in Colonial Pennsylvania (a work within the Early American Studies series) with an appropriate discussion of and lesson on the complex etymology of the word creole.
Nuala Zahedieh’s The Capital and the Colonies explains the rise of London to preeminence in the Atlantic economy.
Evan Haefeli’s excellent new book, New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty, does nothing less than expand and transform our understanding of religious diversity and toleration in colonial Dutch North America.
This book is a study of the exercise of imperial power in the early modern era and the way authorities at all levels moved, expelled, and transported people within the British Empire. Morgan and Rushton investigate some of the processes by which a wide variety of peoples under many different circumstances were forcibly moved.
With this book on Ireland, the Chesapeake, and the beginnings of the Anglo-Atlantic world, Horning wades into two long-running debates about the nature of early English colonialism. The first is the question of where Ireland fits into the expansion projects set in motion in the 16th century.
Across the 17th century, more than 350,000 English people went to America. Yet many, if not most of those who went brought with them a keen sense of their bringing ‘Englishness’ with them, rather than transforming into ‘Americans’. Emigrants travelled to the New World for a variety of reasons.