The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Studies in North American Indian History)
An acclaimed classic book, the 20th anniversary edition of The Middle Ground includes a new preface by the author.
A Seminal Work--and a very dense read.
By Revisioner - October 1, 2011
On its initial publication in 1991, The Middle Ground caused a paradigm shift in Native American studies. Whereas earlier historians viewed the Indians of the Great Lakes region as secondary players in a British and French (and later British and American) contest for empire, White moved the Indians center-stage. Rather than bit-players on the periphery of others' empires, the region's Indians were active agents in creating a "middle ground," a region's whose culture and economy were the product of negotiated change, not an imposed colonial will. The depth of White's research is staggering, drawing upon a wealth of material from French, Canadian, British, and American archives.
It would be hard to overestimate the influence of The Middle Ground on subsequent historians. It has become a seminal work, ubiquitously cited, and its thesis of a "middle ground" has been adapted and revised--with varying levels of success--to fit countless other places and other times. But be... read more
By R. Albin - July 20, 2012
This very interesting and well written book is a successful effort to recover an unanachronistic view of interactions between native peoples and Europeans in the American Great Lakes region between the mid-17th century and the end of the War of 1812. White deals extensively with events usually described in terms of European conquest of native peoples or French-British imperial rivalry but White's perspective is both novel and insightful. The Middle Ground that White describes in not a geographic locale but a metaphor for an interesting type of cultural interaction and accommodation. In the mid-17th century, the powerful Iroquois confederation had fragemented many other tribal groupings and driven their remnants westwards. Some of these groups spoke Algonquian languages, others belonged to other language families. A large region around the Great Lakes, roughly north of the Ohio river, east of the Mississippi, what is now western Pennsylvania, and reaching north to encompass lands... read more
Impressive scholarship, but long
By M. A Michaud "michael_michaud" - October 11, 2011
For readers with a serious interest in the subject matter, this book is a monument to thorough, probably definitive scholarship. Others may be put off by the book's 523 pages of text.
One wonders how many years of patient work White needed to find all these sources and to weave this mass of materials into a coherent whole. He succeeded brilliantly in conveying the complexity of dealings among native Americans, settlers, and governments, but the cost in length was high.