Wednesday, July 18, 2007
39. Stolen Continents: Conquest and Resistance in the Americas - Ronald Wright.

Description from
History is written by the winners, and so the “discovery” of the “New World” in 1492 has long been hailed as one of history's most thrilling moments. But the inhabitants of the Americas saw this event and its consequences quite differently. Their ancestors had settled the New World thousands of years before. They had built great civilizations—some of them democracies, some of them aggressive empires—with cities as large as any then on earth. When Columbus arrived, the Americas held about 100 million people, a fifth of the human race. Within decades, most of them were dead—victims of imported epidemics and barbarous assaults. The European invaders sacked mighty cities, destroyed great art, plundered fabulous wealth and seized the land for themselves. But the New World's peoples did not perish entirely, and neither did their view of history, though it has been suppressed for centuries. In Stolen Continents, Ronald Wright quotes the authentic speech and writing of five indigenous peoples—Aztec, Maya, Inca, Cherokee and Iroquois—over a span of 500 years. We relive their strange, tragic experiences through their eloquent words and see the European invaders through their shrewd, unblinking eyes. Weaving together their contemporary accounts with his own compelling historical narrative, Wright has assembled a powerful and disturbing account of what he terms “a holocaust that began five centuries ago.”


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