New Landmark Book Documents Genocide by Design in California

MadleyA recently published book, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 by Benjamin Madley, provides a thorough and exhaustive review of the well-documented but poorly-known genocide of Native Americans in California, primarily after the Gold Rush.  Madley provides appendices that list every local account of killings by vigilantes, as well as details the state and federal government funding and policies that encouraged them.  It may prove to be a landmark work in the documentation of genocides worldwide.  As Yale University Press states, “Madley considers why the slaughter constituted genocide and how other possible genocides within and beyond the Americas might be investigated using the methods presented in this groundbreaking book.”

Some of the reviews:

“Madley’s extraordinarily comprehensive research leaves no source unexplored: state and federal archives, legislative reports, memoirs and manuscripts, and library collections. This is the definitive account of California’s genocide.”—Tony Platt, News from Native California

“An American Genocide provides one of the most detailed and stunning narratives of violence, murder, and state-sponsored genocide in North America, making this book a major achievement in the fields of both Native American history and Genocide Studies.”—Ned Blackhawk (Yale University)

“This book is a powerful contribution to the study of Native Americans, to California history, and to genocide studies as a whole. It should be read by every Californian.”—Norman Naimark (Stanford University)

“Benjamin Madley has changed the conversation on genocide and American Indians. After An American Genocide, it will no longer be possible to debate whether or not genocide took place. Instead we will need to confront the questions of how and why genocide against American Indians took place and what the United States owes its indigenous communities.”—Karl Jacoby (Columbia University)

Madley also raises questions for today regarding official government apologies and reparations (in a context where the State takes a cut of Indian casino earnings, and where the State continues to deny aboriginal fishing and hunting rights to most tribes).

For more information and reviews, see:

This book would be a timely read for a certain professor at Sacramento State, a genocide denier who got into a very public conflict with a Native student.

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