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review 2017-06-17 22:49
Needed historical information that doesn't get covered elsewhere.
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America - Andres Resendez

The histories of the indigenous peoples of the Americas do not get the coverage they deserve. Author Reséndez presents the book discussing the enslavement of the Natives and that, rather than the introduction of European diseases was the cause that eventually killed the Indians (which is the term Reséndez uses).


The reader explores the history of Indian enslavement, traveling from the beginning in the Caribbean and traveling into the 20th century. How Indians made the "reverse Middle Passage" as he calls it from what would become the United States to Spain and other European countries. How the practice of enslavement began to take hold and maintained itself and simply changed as time marches on.


It's hard for me to review this book. It's an interesting premise and it seems he's done quite a bit of research but I'm absolutely not knowledgeable enough to say whether he's right or he's wrong or how to weigh the evidence. It's also difficult to assess because I think the book is a little too long: sometimes he's more interested in the history rather than focusing on the topic at hand. As other reviewers wrote sometimes the book feels episodic and it's not exactly about "the other slavery."


I do think it's absolutely a topic that should be explored more. It's part of dismantling the myth of those friendly Thanksgivings or that the Natives are part of a long dead culture that can only be seen in museums. Reséndez makes the very good point that when slavery is discussed in the US, it's more about black people, the Civil War, etc. The enslavement of American Indians was not certainly not something I learned about in school and I'd bet it's probably not unless you take particular classes at the college level or have a teacher at the grade school level who has it in the curriculum.


If it interests you I'd recommend you read it but I'd say try the library or see if you can get it as a bargain buy.



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review 2017-05-17 22:05
Definitely a memoir to skip.
On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Life - Rupinder Gill

I forgot exactly how I came across the book but I was enchanted with the title. With such a play on words it sounded like it would be a hilarious read.


While I do not share the experiences author Gill has I could understand growing up somewhere where you don't look like many other people (although in Gill's case it was more severe) and navigating childhood, growing up and life with parents who did not share or even understand the same experiences. And initially this book was quite charming in that manner: how she spent her summers (vs. how she thought she'd be spending them), the struggles of not fitting in because of the food you bring for lunch, the expectations and limitations placed upon you by your family, etc.


But that wore out remarkably quickly. Honestly, I found the writing disjointed and all over the place. No clear timeline, jumping across subjects, etc. There seemed to be little focus and the author was just dashing off thoughts with little cohesion. This is a story that has been done before by many authors before her, but they've also done it better. Like others I also couldn't connect, never really felt for her even though many of the things she described are experiences I shared too.


It might work for some but not for me. I bought it since my library doesn't have it but I wish I hadn't bothered.

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