By James Taylor Carson
Blending an engaging narrative style with broader theoretical considerations, James Taylor Carson offers the most complete history to date of the Mississippi Choctaws. Tracing the Choctaws from their origins in the Mississippian cultures of late prehistory to the early nineteenth century, Carson shows how the Choctaws struggled to adapt to life in a New World altered radically by contact while retaining their sense of identity and place. Despite changes in subsistence practices and material culture, the Choctaws made every effort to retain certain core cultural beliefs and sensibilities, a strategy they conceived of as following "the straight bright path." This work also makes a significant theoretical contribution to ethnohistory as Carson confronts common problems in the historical analysis of Native peoples.