The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650 1815

The Middle Ground Indians Empires and Republics in the Great Lakes Region An acclaimed book and widely acknowledged classic The Middle Ground steps outside the simple stories of Indian white relations stories of conquest and assimilation and stories of cultural persistence

  • Title: The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650 1815
  • Author: Richard White
  • ISBN: 9780521183444
  • Page: 289
  • Format: Paperback
  • An acclaimed book and widely acknowledged classic, The Middle Ground steps outside the simple stories of Indian white relations stories of conquest and assimilation and stories of cultural persistence It is, instead, about a search for accommodation and common meaning It tells how Europeans and Indians met, regarding each other as alien, as other, as virtually nonhumanAn acclaimed book and widely acknowledged classic, The Middle Ground steps outside the simple stories of Indian white relations stories of conquest and assimilation and stories of cultural persistence It is, instead, about a search for accommodation and common meaning It tells how Europeans and Indians met, regarding each other as alien, as other, as virtually nonhuman, and how between 1650 and 1815 they constructed a common, mutually comprehensible world in the region around the Great Lakes that the French called pays d en haut Here the older worlds of the Algonquians and of various Europeans overlapped, and their mixture created new systems of meaning and of exchange Finally, the book tells of the breakdown of accommodation and common meanings and the re creation of the Indians as alien and exotic First published in 1991, the 20th anniversary edition includes a new preface by the author examining the impact and legacy of this study.

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    1. Richard White

      Richard White Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650 1815 book, this is one of the most wanted Richard White author readers around the world.

    888 thoughts on “The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650 1815”

    1. This is one of those touchstone books- everyone working in early American history, or Native American history, or early Canada, or the Atlantic world, or early modern Francea huge swath of historians, in other words, need to have read this book. It is true that the book is getting on in years a little, and it has been picked at periodically over the last two decades, but the thing is, you have to read it in order to understand the people who are arguing against it. Important book, in other words [...]


    2. In the wake of the War of 1812, Americans re-conceptualized the Shawnee leader Tecumseh in a familiar tale of lost love. In this myth-making endeavor, Tecumseh is presented as a fully assimilated American character, equipped with the charm, appeal, and charisma of some of America’s greatest (white, male) politicians. Tecumseh falls in love with an Anglo-American beauty, asks her to marry him, and—upon her insistence that he fully integrate into American society—retreats into the woods. Th [...]


    3. White examines the frontiers between European colonists and native American Indians in the 16th and 17th Centuries. He describes how people of utterly alien, intrinsically hostile cultures can comingle and learn to interact in a manner that is in many respects decent and mutally beneficial. He does not attribute successful negotiation to mutual understanding; on the contrary, it could be better described as a conspiracy of mutual misunderstanding. He does not idealise the people involved; on the [...]


    4. Richard White argues that a process of accommodation, itself the result of "creative misunderstandings" (xxvi), emerged from interactions between French, British, and Algonquins in the pays d'en haut from the middle of the 17th century until the War of 1812. The critical element enabling the emergence of the physical and metaphorical spaces where this accommodation took place, what White calls "the middle ground", is the inability for long periods of time of whites to either dictate to or igno [...]


    5. I read this book as a selection of Let's Talk About It Oklahoma. It was interesting and I did learn some things. That said, it was much more of a time commitment than I want to make for a book club. Very academic if this is your field of study.


    6. Much of American history presents the view of Native Americans as the conquered peoples in a linear story that begins with the landing of Columbus in the Caribbean and ends with the Trail of Tears and Wounded Knee. Richard White seeks to reframe that story, at least in the Great Lakes region. To do so, White has created the Middle Ground, the area known by the French as the pays d’en haut or upper country, which he writes of in his work of the same title. While there is a definite sense of pla [...]


    7. I've lived in the pays d'en haut practically my whole life (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois). I've even made, compared to most people, an effort to learn about the history of the landscape and the Native Americans who have lived here in the past 400 years. And yet starting The Middle Ground still felt like the ground had changed under my feet. I knew that colonization here was complex and violent, in the abstract, but I guess I had a pretty poor estimate of not just how intricate this story wa [...]


    8. Richard White’s landmark 1991 work The Middle Ground, based on the greater Great Lakes region which the French called the pays d’en haut, pioneered a focus and a vocabulary for the study of intercultural relationships between colonists and natives. As in the Old Southwest, where the agricultural decline of the Little Ice Age was compounded by the onset of European plagues and violent competition for access to trade networks, White tells us that the world that existed prior to the mid-17th ce [...]


    9. The Middle Ground is an impressive study of the interaction between the French, British, Indian and American peoples in the Great Lakes Region, or the pays d'en haut. Richard White attempts to recast the history of this area as a complex intermingling of Indian culture and European influence—in place of the traditional narrative of Indian defeat by European conquest. His detailed perspective of relationships between these communities greatly expands on previous discussions of White-Indian rel [...]



    10. This book is just bad at storytelling. Anecdote follows anecdote and the reader is often lost as to what geographical place we are talking about (hardly any maps), what the numbers were (no tables, at no point is it said for example that the English colonists outnumbered the French by 18 to 1), and what year we are even in - White is always jumping around.I had to consult outside sources to get a sense of what was going on.The idea of the Middle Ground is interesting enough. But really we always [...]


    11. Where Boundaries Melted Together--Richard White on The Middle GroundRichard White’s The Middle Ground is a richly documented and highly influential account of the constantly changing relationships and rivalries among the Indians of the Great Lakes region and their interactions with the French, British and Americans in succession during the period from 1650 to the end of the War of 1812. This area of North America, known by the French as the pays d’en haut, was the place where disparate peopl [...]




    12. White argues that when Europeans and Native Americans encountered one another in the New World neither side initially imposed its culture on the other. Rather, a middle ground appeared that was a blending and accommodation of both cultures. The middle ground mostly came about through misunderstandings, but it was were trade and alliances took place. "The middle ground depended on the inability of bot sides to gain their ends through force" (52). This is a very important point because it explains [...]


    13. On second reading, this book fared even better than the first. I've learned more about the life of Algonquian people, about colonial policy and reality, and about civilization and its various forms here than almost anywhere else. I trust the original sources R. W. uses on the question of brutality and cruelty of the Indian wars of the 17th and 18th centuries.I don't think White considers the bias of his sources enough where they may be motivated to paint the Indians in as evil a light as is poss [...]


    14. The Middle Ground is one of the seminal texts on colonial history covering the converging areas that Europeans (British, French and eventually Americans) and Native Americans (Algonquins, Iroquois, Shanwees, and many more) shared in and around the great lakes region for the years 1650-1815. Before the term middle ground was taken out of context by a slew of authors following Richard White you see the narrow definition that was meant to exist. By finding an area where these cultures did not domin [...]


    15. I grew up in the Great Lakes, with an interest in Colonial and Native American Histories so to read so nuanced and synthesized a narrative of another side of our History, one so obvious and yet seemingly ignored, is a treasure. The best book on the subject I have read, indispensable. What it lacks in a flashy narrative it more than makes up for in a Herculean synthesis of mountains of research, truly worth the read. There are many different kinds of History books. Some add stories to pad out a l [...]


    16. White argues that the common notion of Euro-Native contact being one sided is a common misperception. White's focal point of the book are the French who came to the Great Lakes and the Native peoples in "the region around the Great Lakes the French called the 'pays d'en haut'" White argues that their process of accommodation took place on a term he calls "the middle ground," which is "the place in between cultures,peoples,and in between empires in the nonstate world of villages." White says this [...]


    17. This book is a classic and I can't disagree. I can't say more about this book than has been said by every notable historian and publication for the last 20 years. While incredibly extensive and detailed, it is a must for anyone who wants to understand the diplomatic relationship between the French, English, and Native Americans (notably the Algonquin). The common misconceptions and narrative history are clearly rebuked in this work. I can't say enough about how great this book is. I would warn, [...]


    18. Richard White's classic book on Native American-white relations was most likely earth-shattering upon first release. Indeed, the acclaim for thet book, which is warranted, gives it an aura of being a canon work in Native American history. It must have been my education on these sort of historical facts and antecedents that made me more slightly impressed than amazed by White's work. Nevertheless, this book is a must read if you want to learn about the multi-faceted experiences, interactions, and [...]


    19. I admit that I didn't read this volume from cover to cover - I had it on interlibrary loan and it was due back before I had time to do it justice, but I learnt a lot from the chapters I did read, particularly about the period immediately after the Iroquoian defeat of the peoples living in what is now southwestern Ontario.


    20. Fantastic. So well written and researched. White really encourages thought over how American Indians were not just oppressed/subjugated, but made the 'other' and their history/being is viewed through that lens today. GREAT


    21. A classic of American historical writing. From page one, White's prose is unusually gripping for a scholarly work, and his arguments continue to inform Native-American, Early American, and border studies.


    22. This book is a great way to begin to understand the complexity of a time period most people forget. However, it is a bit too focused on the eastern edge of Anishinaabe-aakiing. Still worth the read for historical perspective.


    23. A crucial book, in my opinion, in the study of indigenous peoples and their interactions with Europeans. Not only does this book establish indigenous networks as important elements to trade in the Great Lakes region, but also the extent Algonquian efforts had on Europeans as well.


    24. Read this in my first graduate history class. First book of the semester that was interesting. Even used it for my main paper for that class. Of course part of the reason I liked it is I live in Michigan and am partial to the history of the Great Lakes region.


    25. interesting book about the French and Indians in the Great Lakes area during the first period of contact. The book shows how there was both give and take on the part of both parties, and there was a period where the natives had more power and control, which eventually gave way to the Europeans




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