Studying American history can become boring as the same old topics get rehashed. This will not be found in Alan Taylorís American Colonies: The Settling of North America. From the very beginning this book approaches the study of the New World in a different light. It starts before Columbus set sail on his famous voyage and looks at each of the colonies from their European origins.
To many that study the early colonies, history began in 1492. Very little has been discussed about pre-Columbian America until recently. Taylor rightly begins his book with a look at how the natives lived before their encounter with Europeans. This insight spans the entire Western Hemisphere and brings to the readersí attention the power and majesty of the natives and how vast their civilizations were.
The book is divided into three sections: Encounters, Colonies, and Empires. Each of these are looked at in more depth and not as a whole but individually which allows the reader to fully experience particular colonies and empires. Studying all this from the traditional approach of looking at everything chronologically at the same time can get confusing. Taylorís approach gives much more insight.
One of the best things about Taylorís book is that there are no one-sided arguments. This book is not written from the stance that either side of a conflict was right or wrong. It is not for the Europeans or for the natives. It is thoroughly objective and allows the reader to see beyond stereotypes and preconceived ideas.
Various maps and pictures are included in this black and white printing that help the reader understand the positions of the colonies and how conflicts came about due to proximity. With a thirty-four page bibliography to wrap up the piece, Taylor has created a well-written piece of academic writing that is sure to give new insights into colonial America.
American Colonies: The Settling of North America is a great book to have to your history collection. Though additional features such as timelines would have been great, the way Taylor approaches the subject is refreshing and very educational. If you think you know everything about early American history, take a look at this book and you will discover so much more.
Disclaimer: This book was furnished to the author for a college course.