William Cronon Book Report

Good Essays
When William Cronon, a renowned environmental historian, penned Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, he wanted to bring awareness to the ecological effects of the European’s arrival to New England. Many history books focus exclusively on the people, towns, governments, religions, and so on in pre-Colonial New England; however, the thesis of Cronon’s book, which was originally published in 1983, was to show that we can analyze what changes happened to the plants and animals of New England as the settlers gained power and supremacy over the area once occupied by none other than the Native Americans. As stated in the beginning of the book, “the shift from Indian to European dominance in New England entailed important changes—well known to historians—in the ways these…show more content…
Cronon was careful to cite sources from scientific data, historical records, explorer’s descriptions, and more. Although a portion of the data collected from these sources is tainted, whether by bias, exaggeration, ignorance, etc., Cronon made sure to alert his readers to these flaws. Perhaps, the only criticism of this book is that, in addition to drawing from and quoting European sources, Cronon could have included more Indian sources. Although he presents both cultures in an unbiased approach, he could have used more Native American sources to support his information about the natives and the land. Only twice in the entire book was there any citation of Indian sources—one was a receipt of land and the other was a sachem’s speech. In all, I think this book was an excellent use of my time. This book brings the reader into an uncommon awareness of the changes in the environment and ecosystem along the timeline of pre-Colonial and Colonial history usually learned in school. Mr. Cronon brilliantly linked Helms
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