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The Barbarous Years

ISBN: 9780394515700 | 0394515706
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf
Pub. Date: 11/6/2012

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From an acclaimed historian of early America, a compelling account of the first great transit of people from Britain, Europe, and Africa to the British colonies of North America and their involvements with each other and the indigenous peoples of the eastern seaboard. The immigrants were a mixed multitude-coming from England, the Netherlands, German and Italian states, France, Africa, Sweden and Finland. They moved to the western hemisphere for different reasons, from different social backgrounds and cultures. Even the majority that came from England fitted no distinct socioeconomic or cultural pattern. They came bearing their diverse life styles: from commercialized London and southeast; from isolated farmlands in the north; from Midlands towns south and west. They represented a spectrum of religious attachments. They came hoping to re-create these diverse lifestyles in a remote and, to them, barbarous environment. In the early years, their stories are mostly ones of confusion, failure, violence, and the loss of civility as they sought to normalize situations and recapture lost worlds. And in the process, they tore apart the normalities of the people whose world they had invaded. Later generations often gentrified these early years of the peopling of British North America, but there was nothing genteel about it. Bernard Bailyn shows that it was a thoroughly brutal encounter-not only between the Europeans and native peoples and between Europeans and Africans, but among Europeans themselves, as they sought to control and prosper in the new configurations of life that were emerging around them. It is these vivid, compelling stories that Bailyn gives us in this extraordinary, fresh account of the early years of our nation.

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