Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People

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Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History

Encounters at the Heart of the World concerns the Mandan Indians, iconic Plains people whose teeming, busy towns on the upper Missouri River were for centuries at the center of the North American universe. We know of them mostly because Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1804-1805 with them, but why don't we know more? Who were they really?

In this extraordinary book, Elizabeth A. Fenn retrieves their history by piecing together important new discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, geology, climatology, epidemiology, and nutritional science. Her boldly original interpretation of these diverse research findings offers us a new perspective on early American history, a new interpretation of the American past.

By 1500, more than twelve thousand Mandans were established on the northern Plains, and their commercial prowess, agricultural skills, and reputation for hospitality became famous. Recent archaeological discoveries show how these Native American people thrived, and then how they collapsed. The damage wrought by imported diseases like smallpox and the havoc caused by the arrival of horses and steamboats were tragic for the Mandans, yet, as Fenn makes clear, their sense of themselves as a people with distinctive traditions endured.

A riveting account of Mandan history, landscapes, and people, Fenn's narrative is enriched and enlivened not only by science and research but by her own encounters at the heart of the world.

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About the author

Elizabeth A. Fenn is an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she holds the Walter and Lucienne Driskill Chair in Western American History. She is the coauthor of Natives and Newcomers and the author of the award-winning Pox Americana (Hill & Wang, 2001). She lives in Longmont, Colorado.
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4.2
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hill and Wang
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Published on
Mar 11, 2014
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780374711078
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Native American
History / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for History

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A rising-star historian offers a significant new global perspective on the Revolutionary War with the story of the conflict as seen through the eyes of the outsiders of colonial society

Winner of the Journal of the American Revolution Book of the Year Award • Winner of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey History Prize • Finalist for the George Washington Book Prize

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Praise for Independence Lost

“[An] astonishing story . . . Independence Lost will knock your socks off. To read [this book] is to see that the task of recovering the entire American Revolution has barely begun.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
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