American Colonies

Front Cover
Viking, 2001 - History - 526 pages
36 Reviews
In American Colonies award-winning historian Alan Taylor challenges the traditional Anglocentric focus of colonial history by exploring the multitude of cultural influences out of which "America" ultimately emerged. From the Siberian migrations across the Bering Strait fifteen thousand years ago and the European expeditions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through the nineteenth-century exploration and occupation of the Hawaiian Islands, Taylor traces the complex ecological, ethnic, and economic history and colonization of the New World from coast to coast, from the Canadian north to the Pacific rim.

Examining the repeatedly overlooked influence of the continent's natives upon the colonists and the resulting mutual dependence of the two, Taylor presents a unique and revelatory view of colonial North America. European colonists, African slaves, and native people met one another and interacted at a pace and intensity unparalleled in global history. The effects of this staggering confluence of cultural, ecological, military, diplomatic, and economic interests are still being felt in America today. This fascinating and involving history of the origins of the United States will provoke and appeal to all readers of American history.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: American Colonies: The Settling of North America (The Penguin History of the United States #1)

User Review  - Camden Goetz - Goodreads

Racist and dismissive a lot of the time, and surprisingly euro-centric given its topic. If you're looking for raw info (which you might have to drastically reframe and do counter-research for), there is a lot here though. Read full review

Review: American Colonies: The Settling of North America (The Penguin History of the United States #1)

User Review  - Stephen - Goodreads

Although at times oddly repetitive and too weary of displaying bias, Taylor's work is a poignant attempt to reconfigure the 16th-18th century North American narrative. Read full review


Natives 13000 B C A D 1492
Colonizers 14001800
New Spain 15001600

19 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Alan Shaw Taylor was born in 1955 in Portland, Maine. He graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine in 1977. He went on to earn his PhD. from Brandeis University in 1986. He has become a professor of history at the University of California. He is best known for his contributions to microhistory which he demonstrated in his Pulitzer Prize winning history of William Cooper and the settlement of Cooperstown, New York. In this work, Alan Taylor uses court records, land records, letters and diaries to reconstruct the economic, political and socila history of New England and the settlement of New York. He is also a regular contributor of book reviews and essays to The New Republic. His books include William Cooper's Town: Power & Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for history and the Bancroft Prize in American History. In 2014, he once again won the Pulitzer Prize for History in his title: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.

Eric Foner is a professor of American history at Columbia University.

Bibliographic information