Alan Taylor’s previous books include William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, which won the 1996 Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes for history. He is a professor of history at the University of California at Davis. American Colonies is the first volume in the Penguin History of the United States, edited by Eric Foner, award-winning author o f Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution and the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.
Booklist Selection, Best Books of 2001
Praise for American Colonies
“Drawing on the latest scholarship, Taylor expands our understanding of our own history in this comprehensive and exciting book. Full of surprising revelations, this superb book is history at its best.”
“A balanced synthesis of recent scholarship. … Alan Taylor expertly weaves together the arguments and evidence of dozens of historians and anthropologists … plac[ing] the familiar themes of early American history within a broad context created by the intersection of the histories of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. [Taylor’s] strategy allows him to highlight the histories of peoples and places neglected in accounts of colonial North America. More than just a formidable work of historical synthesis, American Colonies provokes us to contemplate the ways in which residents of North America have dealt with diversity.” —The New York Times Book Review
“At long last, we have an overview of colonial North America that addresses its full geographic, international, and multicultural sweep. In American Colonies, Alan Taylor transcends the heroic saga of freedom-loving Englishmen clustered along the Atlantic coast with a full-blown narrative that extends from the continent’s earliest inhabitants through Christian-Muslim interactions in fifteenth-century Africa and Europe to the onset of the American Revolution and Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages. Taylor challenges us to rethink the complexity and significance of America’s colonial past.”
—Neal Salisbury, Professor of History, Smith College
“Alan Taylor puts everything we thought we knew about early America in a refreshing international context. All over the country, teachers will be throwing out stale lecture notes. Students will be sitting up attentively. Here is a history that responds to the skeptical questions we ask in the twenty-first century.” —Linda K. Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship
“[A] superb overview of colonial America. Alan Taylor … draws upon an extraordinary array of recent scholarship to present a much more comprehensive and complex story. In the process, he punctures many myths and misperceptions. Taylor skillfully integrates social history into his narrative. His accounts of gender roles, family life, and religious beliefs help illuminate the political and economic processes that shape America’s role within the international community. Perhaps Taylor’s greatest contribution to our understanding of early American history is contextual. He is one of the few colonial historians to devote a whole chapter to the settlement of the West Indian islands and their role in the development of South Carolina, and perhaps the only one to include developments on the Great Plains and in California, Alaska, and Hawaii before the Revolution. He also broadens our understanding of the multinational aspects of early American history. American Colonies provides the most comprehensive and textured account of the diverse strands that formed the fabric of early American history. It is destined to become the standard work in its field.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“Crammed full of fascinating material uncovered by historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists in the past half-century.”
“Alan Taylor has ranged widely over the best new scholarship in ethnohistory, environmental, imperial,...
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