The White Man's Indian by Robert F. Berkhofer
Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (Vintage)

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Columbus called them "Indians" because his geography was faulty. But that name and, more importantly, the images it has come to suggest have endured for five centuries, not only obscuring the true identity of the original Americans but serving as an idealogical weapon in their subjugation. Now, in this brilliant and deeply disturbing reinterpretation of the American past, Robert Berkhofer has written an impressively documented account of the self-serving stereotypes Europeans and white Americans have concocted about the "Indian": Noble Savage or bloodthirsty redskin, he was deemed inferior in the light of western, Christian civilization and manipulated to its benefit. A thought-provoking and revelatory study of the absolute, seemingly ineradicable pervasiveness of white racism, The White Man's Indian is a truly important book which penetrates to the very heart of our understanding of ourselves.

"A splendid inquiry into, and analysis of, the process whereby white adventurers and the white middle class fabricated the Indian to their own advantage. It deserves a wide and thoughtful readership."
Chronicle of Higher Education

"A compelling and definitive history...of racist preconceptions in white behavior toward native Americans."
—Leo Marx, The New York Times Book Review


About Robert F. Berkhofer

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Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., is Professor of History at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His many publications include "Salvation and the Savage: An Analysis of Protestant Missions and American Indian Response, 1787-1962", "A Behavioral Approach to Historical Analysis;", and "The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present".
Published August 3, 2011 by Vintage. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Folk images and academic descriptions are sometimes merely different versions of the same underlying ideology, in the present case, Berkhofer (History, Michigan) convincingly argues that so long as the diversity of Native American culture is submerged in the totalizing concept of The American Ind...

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