Columbus called them “Indians” because his geography was faulty. But that name and, more importantly, the images it has come to suggest have endured for five centuries, not only obscuring the true identity of the original Americans but serving as an idealogical weapon in their subjugation. Now, in this brilliant and deeply disturbing reinterpretation of the American past, Robert Berkhofer has written an impressively documented account of the self-serving stereotypes Europeans and white Americans have concocted about the “Indian”: Noble Savage or bloodthirsty redskin, he was deemed inferior in the light of western, Christian civilization and manipulated to its benefit. A thought-provoking and revelatory study of the absolute, seemingly ineradicable pervasiveness of white racism, The White Man’s Indian is a truly important book which penetrates to the very heart of our understanding of ourselves.
“A splendid inquiry into, and analysis of, the process whereby white adventurers and the white middle class fabricated the Indian to their own advantage. It deserves a wide and thoughtful readership.” —Chronicle of Higher Education
“A compelling and definitive history…of racist preconceptions in white behavior toward native Americans.” —Leo Marx, The New York Times Book Review