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The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  287 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Now available in paperback, The Earth Shall Weep is a groundbreaking, critically acclaimed history of the Native American peoples. Combining traditional historical sources with new insights from ethnography, archaeology, Indian oral tradition, and years of his original research, James Wilson weaves a historical narrative that puts Native Americans at the center of their st ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published March 3rd 2000 by Grove Press (first published December 31st 1998)
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Sep 28, 2008 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Americans, white folks, history buffs
Shelves: read-in-2008
This book was clear, well-written, and utterly horrifying. I think it's information all Americans should have, and are unlikely to be taught in public school. Made me realize a number of things, including how uneven "traditional" education is, even about distributing MISinformation about the story of American Indians. I never knew, for example, what a galvanizing and controversial time the New Deal in the 1930's was for many tribes, nor had I heard about the fish-ins in the 1960's, which took pl ...more
Sep 23, 2008 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who's read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee or visited a reservation
It is good to get an alternative point to keep everything in perspective. This history text isn't one that you sit down and read front to cover; it certainly has a staggering amount of information in it. It covers the history of our country from the native viewpoint from first contact to about the mid 1980's. Some things I already knew thanks to an American Indian course I took in college, but there was a lot there that I was not familiar with. I think the author did a good job of being objectiv ...more
This books starts out slowly and isn't always the most readable. But it gets traction after the first couple of chapters, and is a good narrative covering Native Americans from pre-contact to the late 20th century. I particularly enjoyed the sections about the Great Plains, Southwest, and West Coast, since those are the tribes that I am most familiar with. The final chapters covering the last century are interesting as well, although one is left still wondering what the best path for the future ...more
Informative overview of Native (North) American History, from First Contact to the present (well, late Nineties). Wilson describes the evolution of attitudes held by European settlers regarding Native Americans - these attitudes have alternated between hatred and condescension. Wilson also describes the horrific acts of violence committed against Native Americans. Sand Creek, The Long Walk, and Wounded Knee are some of the better known atrocities in U.S. History. However, the settlers in New Eng ...more
A bit out of date as far as current developments; it was published in 2000. Excellent historical perspectives, NOT focusing on the Great Plains (Custer etc.) as most general books on this topic tend to do. I especially appreciated the historical perspectives on the Southwest and California.
Jacob Lines
This was an excellent history of North America’s indigenous inhabitants. Wilson gives a good picture of the complexity of the hundreds of native nations, tribes, and groups. He covers 500 years of history in about 450 pages – no small feat. Based on my college courses and other reading, I found this to be a very dependable and thorough history. Of course, if you are easily depressed by stories of massacres and genocide, you might want to skip it. Because a lot of this history is really sad and d ...more
Greg Beale
an in depth and moving book

As a 1/16th Cherokee...really ...I am struggling to deal with history. Worse my great great grandfather was lynched as a Cherokee married to a whit woman. It becomes personal when you discover that in your family history. I was also once a Stanford Indian, actually a football player who followed Prince Lightfoot out of the tunnel to do battle. I was for the mascot change, and the Redskins and Braves and Utes have to go. I am haunted by this book. Most Americans refuse
Its difficult to review a non fiction book for me, as its not my usual fare. Nor is Native American history as a matter of fact, but I bought the ebook on something like a whim. I'll give it my best shot.
There was a lot of information in this book that was completely (and a little unfortunately) new to me. Its opened my eyes to history from a fresh point of view, and expanded my idea of Native American culture tremendously. There were a few opinions, such as this one:

"..conservatives tend to c
Having American-Indian on my father's side, I try to read at least one book a year to learn more of my father's origins. I found this book very informative putting Indian history more in "proper" context.
This was an enlightening book for me. I didn't realise the lengths the settlers had gone to to try to eradicate the native Indians. Most horrifically for me the author tells it how it was no glossing over the facts. Throwing live babies into fires brings this horror home to you. It was well written and the author had clearly researched in depth the facts. I'm under no illusion that atrocities like this happen every day all over the world but I was saddened and somewhat ashamed that the invading ...more
I just finished this book. It is definitely more of a skimming of history of the Native Americans since Europeans came...but it has helped me find a bunch of other books of specific histories. It is well written, and of course, heart breaking. This is definitely a book that you have something on the lighter side to read after.

The bibliography is a treasure trove. Since it is written by area, he set up the bibliography in the same way. I have circled at least 50 more books to check out...I will h
One grindingly depressing example of how the Indians have been fucked over for the last few hundred years one after another. Not that this depressiveness is a bad thing in this case. Some of the stories are familiar--the Sand Creek massacre, the Nez Perce, etc. But most are something new, like the almost total annihilation of the California Indians. It bogged down some when he got to the 20th Century, maybe because he felt that it was a period not that well known, or maybe because he had access ...more
Jim Jones
Wilson really drills hard into the continual mistreatment and abuse of The Indian population by "Euro-Americans" (his term) from the 1600s through the modern era. It's a sad tale that needs to be told - but I kept thinking through the whole book: "lather, rinse, repeat". The stories all began to sound familiar after a while. While he did give some insight into the geographic and cultural distinctions of various tribes, I would have appreciated more of a primer on who lived where, their cultural ...more
This book is a bit long, but an excellent read. I always knew that European settlers mistreated the native peoples of America, but never truly understood the extent. Wilson (who is white, I must add, because that certainly affects his view) covers every major region of the United States. He describes the cultures and civilizations before, during, and after first contact with English, French, Dutch, and Spanish settlers. He then follows the struggles of native people to today. I thought it was a ...more
I learned so much from this book about the perspectives of different tribes across the US. From the very beginning, the author tries to get the euro-American reader to put aside their own cultural assumptions and see how the tradition and culture of native tribes influenced their interactions with non-Indians.
Really, just learning the details of the treatment of the tribes by Europeans is quite horrific. Gross mistreatment was more the rule than the exception. This history is one all Americans
Colleen O'grady
I learned about the American Indians of the past and the modern era and the tragic life that some lead, about the casinos on the reservations, and I learnt of the Indians who fight to live a good life despite all the descrimination. This work of Wilson's has opened my eyes to what many Indian tribes went through and in a way, similar to our own Australian aborigine
This book will make you want to weep when you realize the genocide that wwasperpetrted in thename of "progress" and "civilization" and Christian mission to eradicate the rich cultures of Native Americans. This book gives a good overview of the history and culture of native American groups all through the U.S. A difficult and dense read, but powerful nonetheless
Bob Price
The Earth Shall Weep tells the more horrific parts of American history from the Native American side.

Decidely biased (but history bias is acceptable), this book speaks to a hidden part of American history.

While it is not the most well written book, it still deserves a place on a historians bookshelf.

(incomplete review...more to come)
Michael Blackmore
I've read more than my share of Native American history related books and this is an excellent overview. It covers the history well without neglecting the scope of the tragedy of the history. Definitely recommended.
This is such a well researched, well written history of America! The history we tend to learn in primary school is very Euro-centric because most American's roots are European. This is a whole new perspective that really opened my eyes to how much larger the story of American history really is. Definitely recommended!
Katya S
Very informative and haunting. Even for me who was fairly aware of native ameircan history, I was shocked and saddened by a great deal of what I have read here.
Important for people to read to know what happened and understand why things are still so backwards today. 8.5 stars if I could
Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or if you will let her die, and when she dies, you too will die.
This is the book to read if you want to understand the reasons for and dynamics of the western European invasion of Native American lands and near extinction of Native peoples and culture.
Ruth Kalen
Excellent history about the settling of this country from native American perspective. Very enlightening
Sep 19, 2008 Steve marked it as hiatus
I might start this again AT ANY MINUTE. That minute could very plausibly be next year or later, though.
Sep 28, 2007 Jesse is currently reading it
Very interesting, insightful exploration of the history of American Indian displacement.
I read this for a class and I really liked it. It is concise but well done.
May 29, 2009 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America by James Wilson (1999)
Fantastic! Well organized and very informative overview.
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JAMES WILSON was born and brought up near Cambridge, and studied History at Oxford University. He now divides his time between London and France.

In 1975 James received a Ford Foundation grant to research and write The Original Americans: US Indians, for the Minority Rights in London. Over the next twenty-five years he travelled widely in the US and Canada, working on – among other projects – a num
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“They were commanded by Colonel John Chivington, a Methodist preacher and rabid Indian-hater who was notorious for publicly advocating the murder of Native American children on the grounds that ‘nits make lice.’ In terms that echoed the ferocious rhetoric of Captain John Mason” 0 likes
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