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Other titles in the Ancient Peoples and Places series:
The First North Americans: An Archaeological Journey (Ancient Peoples and Places)
Synopses & Reviews
This new history of North America is based mainly on archaeology, but also on cutting-edge research in many scientific disciplines, from biology and climatology to ethnohistory and high-tech chemistry and physics. Brian Fagan describes the controversies over first settlement, which likely occurred via Siberia at the end of the Ice Age, and the debates over the routes used as humans moved southward into the heart of the continent. A remarkable diversity of hunter-gatherer societies evolved in the rapidly changing North American environments, and the book explores the ingenious ways in which people adapted to every kind of landscape imaginable, from arctic tundra to open plains and thick woodland.
Professor Fagan recounts the increasingly sophisticated acclimation by Native Americans to arctic, arid and semiarid lands, culminating in the spectacular Ancestral Pueblo societies of the Southwest and the elaborate coastal settlements of California and the Pacific Northwest. He then traces the origins of the Moundbuilder societies of the Eastern Woodlands, which reached their apogee in the flamboyant Mississippian culture of the South and Southeast and the mounds of the ancient city of Cahokia. The book ends with a description of the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples of the Northeast and St. Lawrence Valley, and an epilogue that enumerates the devastating consequences of European contact for Native Americans.
Book News Annotation:
Fagan (emeritus, anthropology, U. of California-Santa Barbara) has gleaned information from many sources to present a short narrative account of ancient North America, from the first settlement to the arrival of Europeans in the late 15th century AD. He summarizes highlights that he thinks would interest general readers, students, and archaeologists and historians without a specialized knowledge of ancient North America. He begins with the earliest Americans and continuing to after the Clovis period, then addressing regions one by one, often coming back to lay a later period over earlier ones. Beautifully produced, the volume is heavily illustrated with b&w images and many color plates. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A carefully researched and up-to-date history of North American settlement, from around 15,000 years ago to the arrival of Europeans in the fifteenth century AD.
About the Author
Brian M. Fagan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a leading authority on world prehistory. His many books include Floods, Famines, and Emperors.
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