My Impressions of the Book

Categories: 1776

I liked the idea of this book. It promised to tell what was happening in the other regions of North America while the 13 colonies declared and fought for their independence from Great Britain.

There stories represent all the wide geographical areas of the continent and in each there is a note of what went on in the colonies at the parallel date. For instance, the expedition to seek a route linking Spain's Santa Fe settlement with the one in Monterey, although it started several weeks later, was scheduled to start in July 4, 1776.

American Horse's documentation of his people's discovery of the Black Hills as 1775-1776 is considered by some, a ploy to put the Sioux on equal footing, both in both image and law, with the emerging nation to its east.

There is something missing in these stories and it might be an overgeneralization to say the trees were described and the forest missed. This is certainly true of the chapter on the Hudson Bay Company where there is a lot of text on beavers: what they ate, how they built dams, how they changed the eco-system.

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It is similarly true of the Santa Fe to Monterey expedition where the emphasis is on small events of the trip.

I was expecting more on the longer term significance. For instance, the section on Alaska shows the strained relationship of the Russian traders and the Aleuts. The chapter ends with the Spanish ambassador in Moscow worried about Russian voyages to the new world (i.

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e. threatening Spain's interests in California) but there is no follow up. Neither is the question (in my mind) of Russia and the low grade war with the Aleuts, did Tzar Alexander II sell this land so cheaply 100 or so years later to rid himself of the problem? While the chapter on the Black Hills strays into the creation of Mount Rushmore, the more significant later development for the Lakota (and this chapter) is the ongoing sculpture of Crazy Horse.

I was interested to read about the successful trading of the Osage and Creek, especially the Creeks trading with Cuba.

The books ends with an 'Epilogue' on Captain James Cook leaving England on the Resolution in 1776. This is Cook's third and final voyage in which he reached both Hawaii and Alaska.

The book had enough in its 210 pages to keep me reading. The content, which should have been vibrant, seemed sometimes to be only a stream of facts with no point, which made it a frustrating read.

Updated: Jan 29, 2022
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My Impressions of the Book. (2022, Jan 29). Retrieved from

My Impressions of the Book essay
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