Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England

Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England

William Cronon Tere LoPrete John Putnam Demos / Jan 27, 2020

Changes in the Land Indians Colonists and the Ecology of New England The book that launched environmental history now updated Winner of the Francis Parkman PrizeIn this landmark work of environmental history William Cronon offers an original and profound explanation o

  • Title: Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England
  • Author: William Cronon Tere LoPrete John Putnam Demos
  • ISBN: 9780809016341
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Paperback
  • The book that launched environmental history now updated Winner of the Francis Parkman PrizeIn this landmark work of environmental history, William Cronon offers an original and profound explanation of the effects European colonists sense of property and their pursuit of capitalism had upon the ecosystems of New England Reissued here with an updated afterword by the autThe book that launched environmental history now updated Winner of the Francis Parkman PrizeIn this landmark work of environmental history, William Cronon offers an original and profound explanation of the effects European colonists sense of property and their pursuit of capitalism had upon the ecosystems of New England Reissued here with an updated afterword by the author and a new preface by the distinguished colonialist John Demos, Changes in the Land, provides a brilliant inter disciplinary interpretation of how land and people influence one another With its chilling closing line, The people of plenty were a people of waste, Cronon s enduring and thought provoking book is ethno ecological history at its best.

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      287 William Cronon Tere LoPrete John Putnam Demos
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    About "William Cronon Tere LoPrete John Putnam Demos"

      • William Cronon Tere LoPrete John Putnam Demos

        William Bill Cronon is a noted environmental historian, and the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison He was president of the American Historical Association AHA in 2012.


    1. How wonderfully enjoyable and informative this compact book turned out to be! Though I'm sure environmental history doesn't elicit much excitement from most people in general, I could see how most anyone could enjoy this book, at least anyone who has some curiosity as to the chain of events in nature in some fundamental ways or anyone who has an interest in the Indians' versus the settlers' ways with the land. This book starts out describing the Native American Indians’ relationship with their [...]

    2. Even though I live in San Diego, I found this book to be well worth the read. Dense but short, "Changes in the Land" gives a close reading to the ecological impact of British colonization in New England. As Cronon states in his conclusion, this transformation has ramifications far outside New England, since the environmental degradation that accompanied early colonization forced settlers farther and farther afield.Twenty years after it was published, the scholarship is still, what I would consid [...]

    3. I used this text and compared to Crosby's "Ecological Imperialism." This text offers a different approach to environmental hsitroy, once that is much more "homo-centric" if you will. Whereas Crosby discusses humans as being a small part of the bursting dam that is nature, Cronon argues that human beings are the chief agents of environmental change. I personally side with Crosby on this one, and as a result, I like Cronon's work less. But it is still a solid piece of writing in a field starving f [...]

    4. A brilliant book that contextualizes and links the environmental history of New England to larger historical forces of colonization, the transAtlantic trade, and global capitalistic economy. Cronon persuasively and effectively argues for ecological history as assuming "a dynamic and changing relationship between environment and culture" or as "dialectical"--that one cannot exist without the other (13).

    5. Historian William Cronon was one of a group of scholars that pioneered a new and improved way of understanding the past. Environmental history put the spotlight on many essential issues that were ignored by traditional history, and this made the sagas far more potent and illuminating.His book, Changes in the Land, is an environmental history of colonial New England. It documents the clash of two cultures that could not have been more different, the Indians and the settlers. It describes the horr [...]

    6. Let me preface this by saying that I think William Cronon is the most important ecological voice of our generation. When environmental historians are piecing together the canon in one hundred years, it will go Muir, Leopold, Cronon (with many more sprinkled in between). That being said, you can tell that this was born out of a doctoral thesis. The writing isn't nearly as literary and compelling as it is in Nature's Metropolis. That being said, I derived a tremendous amount of joy reading this in [...]

    7. Cronon is a very clear writer. His thesis is simple enough to be sustained but nuanced enough to be believable. This is a seminal work in environmental history. I will allow his preface to demonstrate: “My purpose throughout is to explain why New England habitats changed as they did during the colonial period. It is not my intention to rewrite the human history of the region: this is not a history of New England Indians, or of indian-colonial relations, or of the transformation of English colo [...]

    8. An excellent and fascinating study. My only quibbles would be:(1) The book is somewhat dated; while I'm not an ecologist or biologist, I feel reasonably certain our scientific knowledge and ability to reconstruct past ecosystems has improved in the last thirty years. It's time for a second, updated edition!(2) The author to my mind struggles excessively not to portray the Native Americans as victims of European expansionism. At several points he states explicitly that Native Americans were not s [...]

    9. 5/26/2015 - Upon re-reading this book, I upped it to 5 stars. My appreciation for Cronon's ingenuity has grown tremendously during the intervening years in which I first read it. This work has held up incredibly well and I can see its footprint on a multitude of other historians, myself included. It's a work I should re-read every few years to remind myself to and how to thick creatively about sources and to ask the big questions of the sources I have.7/1/2008 - Excellent academic read, but his [...]

    10. This is the first Environmental History book many students read. Partly because it’s one of the books that helped establish the field; partly because it covers a time period at the beginning of traditional American History courses (my own course includes two units before North American colonization, but lots of people still start there). Cronon begins with an introduction called “The View from Walden,” that not only acknowledges some of the changes Henry David Thoreau saw in his neighborho [...]

    11. I found this to be an entirely fascinating read on the environmental/ecological history of colonial New England. Oddly enough, it answered quite a few questions I had pondered over since moving here five years ago. Highly recommend!

    12. William Cronon begins Changes in the Land with a discussion of a journal entry Henry David Thoreau made in January of 1855. Thoreau, a keen observer of the natural landscape, had just finished reading William Wood's New England's Prospect, a 17th century tract in which Englishman Wood describes his visit to New England in 1633. Thoreau reflects on the radical transformations that have occurred to the environment of New England since Wood's time. Thoreau concludes "When I consider . . . the theno [...]

    13. I thought this book was incredible. After reading it, I can't stop looking at things around me differently, so automatically it got a 5 star from me. Some of the material can get a little dense, but the author breaks it down and analyzes it regularly and walks the reader along in his conclusions, most of which I was formulating at the time, anyway.The final chapter was a great cap to the whole book. His ultimate conclusion, which was the one I was coming to terms with bit by bit through the page [...]

    14. This is certainly a great book, and by most measures, it's the book that really started blending disciplines together to create logical and more complete historical narratives. Think 1491 (and 1493), and even Guns, Germs, and Steel All the way to Big History!Well, William Cronon wrote this book in 1983 -- when most environmental writing was still considered far off on the left wing in tree hugger territory. This, however, showed a much deeper understanding amid recognition of how humans and the [...]

    15. This is a great ecological history of the transitions that occurred in the ecology of New England when colonists settled the land. Cronon does a great job of including human decisions, deliberate and unintended, in the narrative. There was a lot of interesting information here, and it's presented in a readable and thought-provoking way.The dynamics of human interaction with ecosystems, both by Indians and British, are explored in detail and he carefully refutes the concept that any of the descri [...]

    16. The story of Changes in the Land is nowhere near as deep as that of Nature’s Metropolis. I’m a sucker for environmental history, but this wasn’t terribly enlightening. Yes, American colonists sucked at land management, squandered resources, and introduced invasive species and diseases. I certainly was aware of that. Really, I was far more interested in the descriptions of Indian lifeways, and how they sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally established sustainable patterns of ex [...]

    17. William Cronon’s Changes in the Land compares Europeans’ and Native Americans’ impacts on the ecology of colonial New England. He argues that the European worldview and lifestyle did not just affect native peoples, but New England’s ecology as well. New methods of farming, hunting, and gathering prompted this ecological system to respond to colonists’ “changes in the land.” In making this argument, Cronon gives nature itself agency. This paradigm shift away from human agency and t [...]

    18. William Cronon’s Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England is a landmark in environmental history. When published in 1983 it served to legitimize the interdisciplinary study, weaving history, ecology, anthropology and various other disciplines into an easily accessible narrative the main focus of which was not the human agency so often the subject of historical analysis, but the ecology in which they operated, interacted, and effected. The thesis is simple, yet co [...]

    19. The coolest thing about this book is it was birthed from a graduate research paper Cronon completed while at Yale. He humbly admits the book was a serendipitous accident. This book interprets the relationship American Indians and European colonists had with each other and the land they inhabited in New England. It makes me proud to not have a fence in my back yard.

    20. for schooli mean it was good. i appreciate what it did for history and it was certainly interesting when you take a holistic view but reading it chapter by chapter was kind of mind numbing. also, colonists suck.

    21. A look at the ecology of New England before and during the colonial period. A good discussion of the impact of the Indians and colonists on the native species, and a reasonable summary account of the similarities and differences of the each groups’ objectives.

    22. Very interesting perspective in the history of developing the American colonies, specifically in how the land was put to use and how it was changed. I would suggest this as a must for anyone doing historical fiction in that time period.

    23. I would not consider this Cronon's best work; however, it is very good. I think that he could have used more explanatory footnotes for some of the topics he discussed. The book is also a little short considering the expanse of the topic.

    24. Absolutely loved this book! Take History and put an Environmental spin on it and you get a bigger picture than any grade school class would ever give you!

    25. William Cronon’s work, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England seeks to look at the reorganization of the New England landscape. Cronon attempts to show more than a change in the land. From the beginning of Changes in the Land, Cronon states that the land had changed. He quotes from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, showing Thoreau’s lament of the change in the landscape. As a counter, Cronon brings to the surface earlier writings on observations of the New Engl [...]

    26. This book was really boring. It was 200 hundred pages and it did cover a lot of things but I really felt most of it could have been written in 50 pages. Good book if you need to do research.

    27. 34 years on, this classic in environmental history has lost none of its directness and persuasive power.

    28. As a (very amateur) student of American environmental thought and admittedly inexperienced when it comes to history, it's difficult to view this book critically. Cronon argues so clearly and so thoroughly, and so concordantly with my ecologically-informed mindset, that it's easy to forget he's arguing at all, rather than simply stating the facts. But he is trying to make a point: that the ecological changes in New England during the colonial period were largely due to the cultures of the people [...]

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