Encounters at the Heart of the World

Encounters at the Heart of the World

A History of the Mandan People

Book - 2014
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"A book that radically changes our understanding of North America before and after the arrival of Europeans Encounters at the Heart of the World concerns the Mandan Indians, iconic Plains people whose teeming, busy towns on the upper Missouri River were for centuries at the center of the North American universe. We know of them mostly because Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1804-1805 with them, but why don't we know more? Who were they really? In this extraordinary book, Elizabeth A. Fenn retrieves their history by piecing together important new discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, geology, climatology, epidemiology, and nutritional science. Her boldly original interpretation of these diverse research findings offers us a new perspective on early American history, a new interpretation of the American past. By 1500, more than twelve thousand Mandans were established on the northern Plains, and their commercial prowess, agricultural skills, and reputation for hospitality became famous. Recent archaeological discoveries show how they thrived, and then how they collapsed. The damage wrought by imported diseases like smallpox and the havoc caused by the arrival of horses and steamboats were tragic for the Mandans, yet, as Fenn makes clear, their sense of themselves as a people with distinctive traditions endured. A riveting account of Mandan history, landscapes, and people, Fenn's narrative is enriched and enlivened not only by science and research but by her own encounters at the heart of the world"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780809042395
Characteristics: xix, 456 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Call Number: 305.897522 FEN


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Sep 09, 2019

Elizabeth Fenn won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History for this book. She is a History Professor at the University of Colorado and has just won a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award for a biography she is currently writing on Sacagawea.

Apr 05, 2016

After reading "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose I became fascinated with the Indian tribes that Lewis and Clark relied upon. The Mandan were among the most interesting and this book is quite good.


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