The Middle Ground

By Richard White,

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

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Middle Ground as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Middle Ground is by far the best overview of the Great Lakes frontier over a period of almost two hundred years. White traces how French fur traders were able to establish a fluctuating “middle ground” with the Indian nations of the region that allowed for a degree of respect, understanding, and intermarriage. When the French were succeeded by the British, this middle ground began to shrink, as English traders wanted to let the cash nexus determine their business practices. When the Americans came to dominate the situation, the middle ground, with the exception of a few figures like William…

From William's list on the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley Frontier.

A spacious and beautifully written study of Native American survival strategies up to the Revolution.  White explains the ways in which alliances with the French and British in their imperial struggles offered opportunities for some native groups to increase their own power at the expense of others. At the same time, these alliances often intensified Native American combat over trapping and territory with harrowing consequences. When the Seven Years War and then the Revolution eliminated their potential allies from North America, Native groups found themselves strikingly weakened, deprived of the “middle ground” they had created, where they could play one…

From Martha's list on open doors to Early America.

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