The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History
by Ned Blackhawk, 2023. Hardcover, 616 pages.
Finalist for the 2023 National Book Award in Nonfiction • A National Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Best Book of 2023
A sweeping and overdue retelling of U.S. history that recognizes that Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of modern America
“Eloquent and comprehensive. . . . In the book’s sweeping synthesis, standard flashpoints of U.S. history take on new meaning.”—Kathleen DuVal, Wall Street Journal
“In accounts of American history, Indigenous peoples are often treated as largely incidental—either obstacles to be overcome or part of a narrative separate from the arc of nation-building. Blackhawk . . . [shows] that Native communities have, instead, been inseparable from the American story all along.”—Washington Post Book World, “Books to Read in 2023”
The most enduring feature of U.S. history is the presence of Native Americans, yet most histories focus on Europeans and their descendants. This long practice of ignoring Indigenous history is changing, however, with a new generation of scholars insists that any full American history address the struggle, survival, and resurgence of American Indian nations. Indigenous history is essential to understanding the evolution of modern America.
About the Author
Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) is the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he is the faculty coordinator for the Yale Group for the Study of Native America. He is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West. He lives in New Haven, CT.
Ned Blackhawk interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late twentieth century. In this transformative synthesis he shows that
• European colonization in the 1600s was never a predetermined success;
• Native nations helped shape England’s crisis of empire;
• the first shots of the American Revolution were prompted by Indian affairs in the interior;
• California Indians targeted by federally funded militias were among the first casualties of the Civil War;
• the Union victory forever recalibrated Native communities across the West;
• twentieth-century reservation activists refashioned American law and policy.
Blackhawk’s retelling of U.S. history acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.