Saturday, July 05, 2008

The First Americans

by Joy Hakim

This year my elder daughter's history textbook is an eleven volume series called A History of US. Like The Story of the World series, it adds some life and character to the dull old facts and figures of your old fashioned history texts. What's even better is that I get to read it along with the Sonlight curriculum, which offers its own rebuttals to various statements in the text. Not that one really needs the extra commentary. Ms. Hakim does a rather nice job of pointing out that there are two sides to every history. Take this volume, for example. As you might infer from the title, the book talks about the native American population that preceded and encountered Columbus and his followers. Now when I was growing up, Native Americans were pretty much just supporting characters in my history texts. Some twenty years later, the pendulum had swung the other way, and they were the sublime innocents who were invaded by the rapacious white fortune hunters. In The First Americans, Ms. Hakim briefly covers the American civilizations that the Europeans found, pointing out their glories and their warts. Likewise, Columbus and the boys are presented as brave, idealistic, cruel and greedy. In A History of US, nobody's perfect... but we are rather interesting.

'Tis nice to have on my shelf.
LibraryThing link

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