Nathan's Reviews > The Cherokees: A Population History

The Cherokees by Russell Thornton
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A very thorough, very scientific approach to ascertaining the population levels of the Cherokee people from historic to modern times. Unfortunately the scope is very narrow, not that that's atypical for an anthropological study. The book only covers enough history to explain how there came to be so many different groups of Cherokees beginning in the 19th century. He cross-indexes population points reconstructed from the historical record with major events or important periods of change in Cherokee history. As a student of Cherokee history, this is nice (and certainly a substantial contribution to the complete understanding of the Cherokee) but as a book reader, it's both hard going and a bit thin. It would have been nice if this was coupled with a study in changing subsistence patterns that was occurring as well.

He has an interesting chapter about exactly who is a Cherokee in current times. It's a more complicated issue than it sounds like, and he has an interesting insight into why everyone seems to think they have a Cherokee grandmother.

This is a work by an anthropologist, and it is basically for anthropologists and historians. If you don't have any anthropological background, or are looking for a general history of the Cherokee people, this will be even harder going than it is for those of us with that education. Still, it's worth checking out as it does add to the corpus of knowledge of the Cherokee people.
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Reading Progress

October 27, 2011 – Started Reading
October 27, 2011 – Shelved
October 29, 2011 – Finished Reading
April 10, 2012 – Shelved as: non-fiction

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