“The New Approaches to Midwestern Studies is off to an auspicious start thanks to Peoples of the Inland Sea and its author David Andrew Nichols…. Peoples of the Inland Sea is foremost a synthesis, distinguished less for its historiographical contributions than for Nichols’s uncommon ability to summarize the histories of the diverse peoples of the Great Lakes region over nearly three centuries in a svelte volume of just over two hundred pages…. Ideal for undergraduates, it is a perfect introduction to the topic and a welcome acknowledgment that the history of the Midwest must begin with its original—and enduring—inhabitants.”
Journal of American History
“Ethnohistorian Nichols harvests broadly across the Lake Plains, gathering the sagas of colliding empires. Readers encounter Native peoples put in motion, spun into orbit by one another and then by the intruding French, British, and American imperialists.…Students will find his bibliography helpful in pursuing tribes in more detail. A valuable resource for all academic libraries. Summing up: Recommended.”
Peoples of the Inland Sea is a timely interpretive survey that will hold the interest of anyone interested in the history of the Great Lakes, the development of the American Interior, and Native American clashes…. Nichols adds considerably to the previous scholarship of the era….
The Michigan Historical Review
“David Nichols has achieved an accessible, authoritative, and succinct overview of the history of native peoples south of the Great Lakes through the middle of the nineteenth century. If we sometimes underestimate the scholarship in synthetic works, Peoples of the Inland Sea shows us just how wrong we are.”
Andrew Cayton, author of Love in the Time of Revolution
Diverse in their languages and customs, the Native American peoples of the Great Lakes region—the Miamis, Ho-Chunks, Potawatomis, Ojibwas, and many others—shared a tumultuous history. In the colonial era their rich homeland became a target of imperial ambition and an invasion zone for European diseases, technologies, beliefs, and colonists. Yet in the face of these challenges, their nations’ strong bonds of trade, intermarriage, and association grew and extended throughout their watery domain, and strategic relationships and choices allowed them to survive in an era of war, epidemic, and invasion.
In Peoples of the Inland Sea, David Andrew Nichols offers a fresh and boundary-crossing history of the Lakes peoples over nearly three centuries of rapid change, from pre-Columbian times through the era of Andrew Jackson’s Removal program. As the people themselves persisted, so did their customs, religions, and control over their destinies, even in the Removal era. In Nichols’s hands, Native, French, American, and English sources combine to tell this important story in a way as imaginative as it is bold. Accessible and creative, Peoples of the Inland Sea is destined to become a classroom staple and a classic in Native American history.
David Andrew Nichols is a professor of history at Indiana State University. He is the author of two previous books on Native American history, Red Gentlemen and White Savages (2008) and Engines of Diplomacy (2016). He is also the North American book review editor for the journal Ethnohistory. More info →
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The Mound Builders traces the speculation surrounding the thousands of earthen mounds built across the Midwest some time between 1000 B.C. and 1000 A.D. and the scientific excavations which uncovered the history and culture of the ancient Americans who built them.
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