Booklist Review
Grant (Newcastle Univ., UK) tells a familiar story with a tart pen and an acute eye for detail as she builds the case that the first European Americans (she concentrates on English immigrants) mixed a potent brew of ambitions for financial profit and religious piety into an ideology of exceptionalism that often sustained itself on war--and still does. She notes that Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre (1770) depicts Crispus Attucks, the first black to die in the American Revolution, as white. Grant points out that some of the most trenchant revolutionaries preached liberty more as allegory than reality. Rudyard Kipling's "White Man's burden" referred to the US in the Philippines at the end of the 19th century. A concise history of such a large, well-trod subject is likely to leave out quite a bit. The Cherokee Trail of Tears and other removals, for example, receive barely a word in the author's rush from "city on a hill" to revolution to the Civil War. Elegantly written and insightful for the most part, this work occasionally stumbles, as with its assertion that for most Native peoples on the Great Plains, "white settlers were little more than an irritant." Some irritant indeed. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. B. E. Johansen University of Nebraska at Omaha