Summary

In the second half of the 19th century, the Euro-American citizenry of California carried out mass genocide against the Native population of their state, using the processes and mechanisms of democracy to secure land and resources for themselves and their private interests. The murder, rape, and enslavement of thousands of Native people were legitimized by notions of democracy - in this case mob rule - through a discreetly organized and brutally effective series of petitions, referenda, town hall meetings, and votes at every level of California government.
Murder State is a comprehensive examination of these events and their early legacy. Preconceptions about Native Americans as shaped by the popular press and by immigrants' experiences on the Overland Trail to California were used to further justify the elimination of Native people in the newcomers' quest for land. The allegedly "violent nature" of Native people was often merely their reaction to the atrocities committed against them as they were driven from their ancestral lands and alienated from their traditional resources. Murder State calls attention to the misuse of democracy to justify and commit genocide.
©2012 Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks
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Critic reviews

"One of the most important works ever published on the history of American Indians in California in the mid-nineteenth century." ( Indian Country)
"A significant historical account detailing white pioneers perpetrating genocide against California Indians." ( Journal of American Studies)
"Perhaps the most provocative aspect of his book is Lindsay's connection of American democracy to the killing of Indians." ( American Historical Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Robert Westgate on 05-05-18

Wow! A history to never repeat.

It is really a phenomenal that this history is so we'll documented but then never acknowledged by the general public.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Buretto on 24-10-17

Slow to get going, but ultimately worthwhile

It took a few false starts before I committed to the book, due to the overly academic tone of the introductory chapters, explaining what will and what will not be covered. But once I got beyond that, it was a thoroughly interesting book. Moreover, the topic is absolutely essential and deserving of a comprehensive telling. In the current political climate, it's not so hard to believe these accounts of genocide. It's harder to believe that some of our attitudes have changed so little.

Also, the criticisms of the narrator are well-founded, if a bit overboard. He mispronounces a few words, most notably *epitome* and its derivations. And honestly, it is a bit flat, but not so much as to ruin the book.

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