North America: An Introduction

North America: An Introduction

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By Michael M. Brescia and John C. Super
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2008
World Rights
256 Pages
Paper
ISBN 9780802096753
Published Aug 2008
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Description
Author
Contents
Reviews

Historians have traditionally approached North America through the lens of the nation-state rather than from a continental perspective. While acknowledging that the geographic vastness and historical complexity of North America make it difficult to study as a whole, authors Michael Brescia and John Super build on the premise that the experiences of each country can be better understood when evaluated as a whole rather than as unique and discrete units. Employing a thematic approach, the authors investigate the North American past to explain the similarities and differences in the political, diplomatic, economic, social, and cultural experiences of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Five maps provide visual reference to such phenomena as population densities, pre-Columbian civilizations, physical features, and military conflict. A comprehensive bibliography includes general works, monographs, reference matter, and web resources.

Michael M. Brescia is Assistant Curator of Ethnohistory at the Arizona State Museum and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Arizona. His research has been published in such journals as the Colonial Latin American Historical Review and The Catholic Historical Review.


John C. Super is Professor Emeritus of History at West Virginia University. He is the co-author (with Briane K. Turley) of Religion in World History (Routledge, 2005) and (University of New Mexico Press, 1988).

Preface

A Note on Terminology

List of Maps

I. Convergence and Divergence

II. Contours of the Past

III. Regions and Resources

IV. Politics and Power

V. Continental Diplomacy

VI. Indians and Europeans

VII. Immigration

VIII. Labor and Class

IX. Trade and Tariffs

X. Church, State, and Society

XI. Structures of the Past

Bibliography

Index

North America: An Introduction by Michael Brescia and John Super is the first introductory history that offers a balanced, comprehensive view of the three North American countries. The work is clearly written and thematically organized into twelve chapters. The first three chapters, "Convergence and Divergence," "Contours of the Past," and "Regions and Resources," set the historiographic, geographic, and historical context for the rest of the work. Each of the following chapters analyzes a specific topic, exploring the historical similarities and differences between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, the links that have joined them, and the issues that have separated them. Students will benefit from the analysis and comparisons of past and present day issues such as the relations between Natives and Europeans, the role of Church and Government, and the important issue of immigration. North America: An Introduction is an excellent introductory work for anybody seeking to understand the past and present relations between the three North American countries.

Luz María Hernández-Sáenz, University of Western Ontario

Michael Brescia and John Super trace the contours of the continent. They explore the movement of the peoples who have migrated in waves beginning about 40,000 years ago and analyze the differences and the similarities of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This exquisitely written history of a complex but unstudied continent should be required reading for all residents of the emerging region of North America.

Robert A. Pastor, Professor and Director, Center for North American Studies, American University, Washington, D.C.

Michael Brescia and John Super do a significant service to current scholarship in North America: An Introduction. [...] Clearly, this is a difficult project to attempt, and the strengths of North America: An Introduction are clear. Historians working within national fields should take the authors' advice to be open to comparison with close and similar neighbors, as well as the influence of neighboring societies. One hopes that this book represents a revival of serious study of continental and hemispheric history, issues, and mutual influence.

Ross Cameron, American Review of Canadian Studies

How does one even begin to write a survey of the history of North America? Not only does any large unit of analysis contain local patterns that defy generalization, but there are also three strong 'exceptionalist' national historiographies to contend with. [...] However, the authors were not daunted, and neither was their Canadian publisher. The result is a good starting point for what may one day become a new trend in the teaching of history in three different countries.

The Canadian Historical Review