Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories

Article excerpt

American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories. By Daniel H. Usner Jr. Indians of the Southeast. (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, c. 1998. Pp. xvi, 189. $45.00, ISBN 0-8032-4556-4.)

In American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley, Daniel Usner continues to explore the interethnic economy he revealed in his Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley Before 1783 (Chapel Hill, 1992). In that award-winning book, Usner examined the evolution and composition of a regional economy that connected Indian villages across the Lower Mississippi Valley with European settlers and their African slaves along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi's lower banks. He showed that this regional economy--despite scholarly neglect by previous historians--was an important factor in the evolution of the colonial Lower Mississippi Valley. Usher demonstrates with this new book that the antebellum South did not spring fully formed out of nothingness. It emerged out of an earlier world shared by Indians, Europeans, and slaves.

In his first chapter, Usner reviews recent scholarship on American Indians in the early South--a topic that was for too long neglected both by anthropologists and historians--and shows how interdisciplinary perspectives reveal the Old Southwest as a diplomatically, militarily, socially, and economically dynamic region. Although the next three chapters revisit some of the ground Usher covered in essays published in both scholarly and popular publications, these new chapters constitute a valuable synthesis of that earlier material. …

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