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In a Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival
PAULA MITCHELL MARKS

In a Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival by Paula Mitchell Marks
1 reviews (1998) (451p)
Pulitzer Prize for History Finalist

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Book Description
Award-winning historian Paula Mitchell Marks reconfirms her status as one of the foremost contemporary chroniclers of the American West with this often appalling, yet always engrossing, account of American Indian cultures under siege from 1607 to the present. In a dazzling synthesis of the latest research with masterful storytelling, Marks portrays the systematic dispossession of America's original inhabitants over centuries of broken promises and bloody persecutions. Well-known events and personalities -- the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Trail of Tears, Geronimo, to name a few -- are juxtaposed with lesser-known but equally pivotal episodes such as the Navajos' Long Walk, the Snake Indian resistance, and more.


Amazon.com Review
The unfair and often brutal treatment of American Indians is a well-documented saga. Personalities and events such as Chief Joseph, Geronimo, the Trail of Tears, and the massacre at Wounded Knee are now familiar history, even if representative of a radically different era. But conflict still rages, as demonstrated in the legal challenges to Indian claims of limited sovereignty and the controversies caused by the existence of casinos on some reservations. This is complex and detailed history indeed, and Paula Mitchell Marks ambitiously grasps at nearly four centuries of conflict in In a Barren Land, beginning with the first European settlements in America and extending to the courtroom showdowns of the 1990s. As she deftly demonstrates, there has been plenty of heartbreak along the way: devastating diseases; massacres; lies; broken treaties; loss of ancient hunting, fishing, and burial grounds to private development and federal control; and rampant poverty on many reservations. Though Marks writes from the Indian's perspective, she works to avoid a good-versus-evil treatment of relations, explaining, for instance, how Indians were often aggressive and brutal in their attempts to check white migration onto their lands, and how tribes continue to receive large subsidies from the federal government even as they assert greater independence. In retracing their steps as a people, Marks illustrates how contemporary Indians occupy a gray area in U.S. society, wedged somewhere between assimilation and a collective desire for detachment that clearly indicates that there are many chapters yet to be written.


Paula Mitchell Marks Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 In a Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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