The new standard history of Arkansas, essential and engaging reading for students and the general public alike.
Four distinguished scholars, each focusing on a particular era, track the tensions, negotiations, and interactions among the different groups of people who have counted Arkansas as home. George Sabo III discusses Native American prehistory and the shocks of climate change and European arrival. He explores how surviving native groups carried forward economic and docial institutions, which in turn proved crucial to early colonists. Morris S. Arnold examines the native communities and the roles of minority groups and women in the development of law, government, and religion; the production of goods; and market economies. Jeannie M. Whayne shows how these multicultural relationships unfolded during hte subsequent era of American settlement. But mutuality ended when white settlers transplanted plantation agriculture and slavery to formerly native lands. Thomas DeBlack shows that the plantation society, while prosperous, also brought the state into the Civil War. He analyzes banking fiascoes, the state's reputation for violence, the mixed blessings of statehood, and the war itself. Whayne returns to discuss different groups' access to the political process; prostwar economic issues, including women's work; and the interrelated problems of industrialization, education, and race relations. The Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, transformed political and social landscapes, but vestiges of the old attitudes and prejudices remain in place.
"Informed in its scholarship, rationally organized, and written in clear, graceful prose, this volume is extraordinarily comprehensive in its treatment of Arkansas' past. . . . By any manner of reckoning, this is an extraordinarily valuable addition to historical literature, one that provides a highly readable and comprehensive account."
Willard Gatewood, from the Foreword
Jeannie M. Whayne is chair of the History Department, University of Arkansas. Among her publications are A New Plantation South: Land, Labor and Federal Favor in Twentieth Century Arkansas (1996, University Press of Virginia), and Arkansas Biography, with Nancy A. Williams (Arkansas, 2000).
Thomas A. DeBlack is associate professor of history ot Arkansas Tech University and the author of Arkansas in the Civil War and Reconstruction in the Histories of Arkansas series (forthcoming).
George Sabo III is Research Station Archaeologist at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and a professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas. His publications include Visions and Revisions: Ethnohistoric Perspectives on Southern Cultures (Georgia, 1987) and Paths of Our Children: Historic Indians of Arkansas (Arkansas Archaeological Survey, revised 2001).
Morris S. Arnold is a United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit. Most recently, he is the author of The Rumble of a Distant Drum: The Quapaws and Old World Newcomers, 16731804 (Arkansas, 2000). Links to this and his other books are to the right.