The American Indian: Past and Present (6th edition)Feb 15th, 2011 | By bshreve | Category: 22-3: Food Sovereignty, Spring 2011, Media Reviews
Edited by Roger L. Nichols
University of Oklahoma Press (2008)
Review by Bradley Shreve
Roger L. Nichols’s classic book, The American Indian: Past and Present, has been in use since the first edition appeared in 1971. Now in its sixth edition, Nichols’s book remains as relevant as ever. Much of the reason is because Nichols has kept up with cutting-edge scholarship, adding 16 new essays to this edition.
Pekka Hämäläinen’s piece, “The Rise and Fall of Plains Indian Horse Cultures,” for example, stands as one of most important works in American Indian history in the last 30 years. But Nichols also recognizes good writing when he reads it—10 of the chapters have appeared in previous editions.
Take for instance Henry Warner Bowden’s contribution, “Spanish Missions, Cultural Conflict, and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680,” which was first published in 1975 but has withstood the test of time and continues to be a landmark in southwestern history.
The American Indian: Past and Present is still one of the best edited volumes on Native history. Once again, the book offers thoughtprovoking essays that expand the entire American Indian experience, beginning with the first contacts and stretching up to the present day. Nichols’s book is essential for all students and scholars of Native American history.
Bradley Shreve is chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at Diné College where he teaches history and is currently revising his book, Red Power Rising, for the University of Oklahoma Press.