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

William Cronon; With a Foreword by John Demos and an Afterword by the author

Hill and Wang



Trade Paperback

288 Pages


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Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize

Changes in the Land offers an original and persuasive interpretation of the changing circumstances in New England's plant and animal communities that occurred with the shift from Indian to European dominance. With the tools of both historian and ecologist, Cronon constructs a brilliant interdisciplinary analysis of how the land and the people influenced one another, and how that complex web of relationships shaped New England's communities.

This 20th-anniversary edition features a Foreword by John Demos and an Afterword by the author.


Praise for Changes in the Land, Revised Edition

"A brilliant performance, from which all students of early American history will profit."—Edmund S. Morgan, Yale University

"Written with an elegant simplicity of style, this pioneering study has become an enduring classic in the field of American colonial and environmental history."—Howard R. Lamar, Yale University

"The book's greatest contribution is in bringing together work from so many sources in a wide range of disciplines and in focusing it through the lens of ecological concerns."—Karen Ordahl Kupperman, The Journal of American History

"Changes in the Land exemplifies, and realizes, the promise of ecological history with stunning effect. Setting his sights squarely on the well-worn terrain of colonial New England, [Cronon] fashions a story that is fresh, ingenious, compelling and altogether important. His approach is at once vividly descriptive and profoundly analytic."—John Demos, The New York Times Book Review

"A superb achievement: Cronon has changed the terms of historical discourse regarding colonial New England."—Wilcomb E. Washburn, director of the Office of American Studies, Smithsonian Institution

"A cogent, sophisticated, and balanced study of Indian-white contact. Gracefully written, subtly argued, and well informed, it is a work whose implications extend far beyond colonial New England."—Richard White, Michigan State University

"This is ethno-ecological history at its best . . . American colonial history will never be the same after this path-breaking, exciting book."—Wilbur R. Jacobs, University of California, Santa Barbara

"[By] appraising evidence that ranges from fossil pollen counts to Puritan court documents, William Cronon explains[s] how the farming practices and commercial instincts of the early English Colonists destroyed the region's flourishing forest habitat—and doomed New England's native Indians with it . . . Cronon's eloquent book has the rigor of first-rate history and the power of a tragedy."—Jim Miller, Newsweek

Reviews from Goodreads



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William Cronon is the Frederick Jackson Turner Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. His book Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West won the Bancroft Prize in 1992.
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