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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2011
This is an excellent and essential, yet harrowing, read about the Holocaust endured by the native peoples of the Americas.

The book is in two parts. Part one establishes the facts of genocide. The documented acts including from the memoirs of the Spanish, British and American perpetrators. This includes their self declared intent as expressed in ideological terms and the extent to which actions were societal, individual, collective and state and governmental policy.

Part two seeks to explain why such monumental genocide occured and goes all the way back to Aristotle to trace the roots of genocidal ideas in Western civilisaton and, especially, how these evolved in Christianity into concepts of Holy War, righteous slaughter, divine right to land, the idea that pestilence was divinely inspired and how these justified policies of deiberate extermination of native Americans. All this furnished with incriminating quotes from Spanish priests, English puritan ministers and American politicians.

Stannard believes that racism is inherent in Western culture and ideas and makes the best case I have yet seen that racism was an idea that predated New World slavery. However, I think a better counter-case is made by Robin Blackburn in 'The Making of New World Slavery'.

I'd thoroughly recommend Stannard's book as a feast of horrific history combined with well argued and provocative intellectual insight.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 1999
I thought I had a pretty good handle on the treatment and situation of Native Americans since the arrival of Columbus. After reading this book I was stunned. Though I will never truely understand what it is like to have my culture ripped away, I have a better perspective. Why isn't this book required reading. And yes, disease did kill more than guns, but the Europeans used it to their advantage. You can't ignore the statements of some of our most revered past leaders regarding the necessity of eliminating the Navtive Americans.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2003
Prof Stannard's book is painfully informative. He wades through decades of native extermination, of the 'new world', and explains the reasons behind this tragedy not only through a historic lens,but also the religious-socio-psychological factors that contributed.
A must-read for anyone who isnt ignorant of: "those who forget history are doomed to repeat it"
Along with this book id recommend Dee Brown's 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee'
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2006
A masterpiece of scholarship and analysis.

Our entire culture is built on Holocaust Denial while those most responsible for the abnesia drape themselves in the flag of holocaust memorialism but have little honesty in their true agenda. An agenda that allows in the USA alone for there to be at least 50 Holocaust memorials, museums and monuments...only problem is they are ALL about the Holocaust that happened in Europe and NOT about the colossal extermination that took place where they live. It is not only denial on the part of the nations of the Americas and Europe but those responsible for this Holocaust Denial in relation to Indian America insist on an image of being the world's caretakers of holocaust memory. What a bloody audacity.

This brilliant book re-addresses the imbalance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2015
David Stannard's "American Holocaust", aptly published during the ahistorical hoo-hah that marked the 500th year since Columbus "discovered" the Americas, takes as its subject the genocidal destruction of the Native Americans in north, south and central America in the aftermath of the western European invasion.

The book is split into three parts, the first and shortest of which provides remarkable insight into the great variety of indigenous peoples that populated the continent on the eve of being invaded by the Europeans. The second part is a description of various atrocities that occurred subsequent to 1492, by the Spannish and English, and the devestating effect of European diseases on the indigenous population. The final part looks into what it was, within European culture, religion and institutions that allowed, condoned, celebrated and facilitated this genocide; comparison is also made with future genocides, and its hardly a suprise to learn that Hitler was an admirer of what the British and subsequently the United States achieved vis-a-vis the Native Americans, and referred to Jews, Slavs and others he was slaughtering on a industrial scale at industrial speed as "Red Indians".

Overall "American Holocaust" is a remarkable achievement; it's well researched, well written and with particular regard to the third part, well argued. The picture of the numerous vibrant and vital human societies in the Americas pre-1492 is vividly presented to the reader. Stannard deals with the question of the diseases the Europeans inadvertently brought with them (though eventually a few enterprising pioneers of Biological warfare hit on the idea of giving Native Americans blankets which had previously been used by small pox victims) for which Native Americans had no immunity. My own feeling is that apologists for the American Holocaust use this as an alibi for the genocide- it just kinda happened... nothing to do with me mate. Stannard cites ample evidence that the good Christians from Europe viewed it as a gift from God that aided their efforts to colonise the Americas; for some Spanish Catholics (perhaps because they needed Indians for labour in the gold and silver mines, the largest of which at Potosì was the Auschwitz of its day) losing their indigenous labourers was viewed as a punishment from God for their own religious shortcomings! But the colonisers didn't just view the diseases that carried away millions upon millions of the Natives as a gift. The hostility, violence, massacres, displacement and brutal labouring conditions that they visited upon the Natives increased the already appaling death rate, and even those Native groups left undisturbed to recover from the deadly European diseases were subsequently destroyed and displaced by European violence alone.

A short review can hardly give a sense of the scope and quality of this work that I'd thoroughly recommend reading, especially by those who are sceptical or even offended by the use of the term Holocaust for other victims apart from the Jews (and Slavs, gypsies, etc) subjected to the horrific and murderous extermination policies of the Nazis during World War 2.

Other books of interest would include Dee Browns classic history of the United States late 19th century war against the Great Plains Indians Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee; Ronald Wrights Stolen Continents focuses on telling the story of several communities of Native Americans and their confrontations with the Europeans at specific points in time during the five centuries after 1492. For anyone wishing to go off on a slight tangent Domenico Losurdo's Liberalism: A Counter-History shows the dark side of Liberalism, and more than a few Liberals were cheerleaders for the genocide against Native Americans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2015
This book is a worthy and honest contribution to the 1992 commemoration of the 500th Columbus Day. The unstinting accounts of extermination campaigns and forced labor camps across the New World are sufficient to do the magnitude of horror some justice, and the recorded thoughts or sentiments of the perpetrators are explored in disturbing detail. In comparing the crimes of Spanish and English invaders, Stannard finds the English slightly more murderous, as they tended to massacre the Natives not just for the sake of profit, but as an end in itself. Perhaps the most thought provoking lines are the quotes from U.S. founding fathers such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, calling for the extermination of Native societies in words that Adolf Hitler could have easily have copied for his own ends. After all, Hitler used to say that in his people's continent-spanning empire, the Volga River would be "Germany's Mississippi."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2012
Wow...this book will truly open your eyes and probably (as with me) move you. It's not what you think you know, it's what you don't...too often, we just see the world from a one way lens of values and judgement. This book makes that so clear.

Stannard's work teaches us so much about History - great insights into precolonial societies and some truly mind blowing evidence...Stannard gives the reader a true historical sense of perspective and sense of how much we are often disinformed on issues like this. The evidence in the book is truly amazing if at times grim; if you want a book to take you out of your world view comfort zone of knowledge, this one does it. Scholarly referenced and incredibly interesting...this work should be read, respected and required reading all over the world.
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on 17 June 2015
This should be on the curriculum as a mandatory read not just in America and S America, but more widely. Atrocities which have been swept under the carpet of history.. but continuing. A tale of man's inhumanity and the danger of greed and religion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2013
If you are Spanish you SHOULD read this book.
If you are English you SHOULD read this book.
And if you are Christian you SHOULD read this book.
Read it....and weep!
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on 2 November 2015
Amazons copy of this book had change, the front cover had changed the title had been obsured and the centre picture blacked out, not what was illistrated. Book was returned it.
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