The History of White People

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W. W. Norton & Company, Apr 18, 2011 - History - 448 pages
12 Reviews

A New York Times bestseller: “This terrific new book . . . [explores] the ‘notion of whiteness,’ an idea as dangerous as it is seductive.”—Boston Globe

Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

“Whiteness” has been a European obsession for centuries, including claims about how ancient Egyptians—at least the ruling castes—were white and fair-haired (they just wore wigs in pictures, the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

Interesting parts, like about how there used to be hard within-European white fronts that are now much less pronounced, and president Theodore Roosevelt's worries about racial decay and writings about positive eugenics (boosting fertility), but overall I found the book too long and slow. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Nell Irvin Painter is the award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey, and the Adirondacks.

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