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Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold: Europe's Conflict with Tribal Peoples [Paperback]

Mark Cocker


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Book Description

1 April 1999
A study of four different conflicts between so-called civilised and indigenous peoples, which considers the subsequent changing historic portrayals of each clash. The conquest of Mexico, the British onslaught on the Tasmanian Aborigines, the uprooting of the Apaches, and the German campaign against the tribes of South West Africa are considered.

Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (1 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712665765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712665766
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,237,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

This account of the brutalities of European colonialism concentrates on four episodes--the destruction of the Aztecs, the exterminations of the Tasmanians and the Herero and the cowing of the Apache. Starting with a general statement that the expansion of European Christian civilisation has been at the expense of tribal peoples throughout the world, who were seen as either objects for exploitation or study, or as simply surplus, Cocker argues that the pattern was set by the encounter with the Aztecs--Spaniards hot from the reconquista were not in the mood to be tolerant of blood-sacrificing cannibals, no matter how urbane and sophisticated. Poorer peoples like the Tasmanians and the Herero he sees as simply victims; only the Apache made the whole process so costly that they became heroes to their conquerors. Some of this is special pleading--Cocker neglects the role of disease and sometimes talks as if Europeans were uniquely bad--compared to, say, Genghis Khan?--and his concentration on selected case studies ignores the issues raised by more complex cases like the Maori or India. Nonetheless, it is a terrifying indictment of atrocities all the worse for the sanctimonious efficiency with which they were carried out. --Roz Kaveney

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