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This Land is Their Land by David Silverman

In This Land is Their Land, David Silverman discusses the history of the Wampanoag Indians, the history of European settlement of Plymouth Colony and the Thanksgiving story that is part of the American cultural tradition.

Silverman dives into historical texts to discover both what is recorded and examine what is not recorded. In doing so, he begins to draw out the perspective of the Wampanoag. He starts with what life was like at the point of first contact with the Europeans, details the devastating plague that wiped out 90% of the Native population, the way the English and the Indians treated each other and broke the treaties with each other, and finally what led up to modern Wampanoag declaring Thanksgiving a National Day of Mourning.

Like most history books, this is not a light read. Looking at history through a modern lens can be a slippery slope, but in this case, where the surviving accounts mostly describe events through the perspective of the English colonists, I feel this work has particular relevance in examining the perspective of the Wampanoag as their perspective is the other half of the story.

In the words of George Santayana ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ The 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving will be celebrated this fall. Let us consider a more complete picture of the historical narrative together.

Check back next week for another great Non-Fiction read!

Have questions? Email us at reference@haverhillpl.org .

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