Historiography

Download After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection by James West Davidson, Mark Lytle PDF

By James West Davidson, Mark Lytle

ISBN-10: 0073385484

ISBN-13: 9780073385488

For greater than twenty-five years, After the Fact has guided scholars via American background and the tools used to check it. In dramatic episodes that flow chronologically via American background, this best-selling publication examines a huge number of issues together with oral facts, pictures, ecological facts, motion pictures and tv courses, church and city documents, census facts, and novels. no matter if for an introductory survey or for a old tools path, After in actual fact the perfect textual content to introduce readers, step-by-step, to the detective paintings and analytical techniques historians use once they are literally doing historical past.

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Example text

After endurĀ­ ing the harshest winter yet, with drenching cold rains and drifting snows, De Soto returned to the thickly settled region around Anilco. There, in the spring of 1542, he died. Even then, the expedition consumed yet another year in a futile quest for an overland route to Mexico. Only during the winter of 1542-1543 did the men return to the Mississippi to build seven boats, in which to take their chances with the big river. When the spring floodwaters rose and floated the boats free, the Indians of Quigualtam were waiting, eager to ambush.

When Indians first met De Soto on the river in May 1541, the paramount chief brought a fleet of about 200, about 60 to 70 men aboard each craft and a canopy at the stern to shelter 18 AFTER THE FACT: THE ART OF HISTORICAL DETECTION its commander. " Their fighting abilities made them even more fearsome, as the seven handmade Spanish boats began their escape downriver to "the great sea," each towing a small dugout canoe. When Moscoso dispatched four or five Spanish canoes to meet them,some Indians jumped out of their boats into the water-half swimming to the lead Spanish canoe to capsize it, the other half stabilizing their own canoes to prevent the Spanish from doing the same.

The IndiĀ­ ans had spotted the newcomers and were spreading the alarm by signal fires. Inland from the coast, the environment of the Southeast was little like what we would see today. In our mind's eye we must banish not only the highways, buildings, and bridges, but also less obvious features. Except for Florida, the southeastern part of the continent had many fewer lakes, which in modem times have been created by dams. Though the climate was colder than at present when De Soto arrived-and had been for over a century-the forest had actually evolved in response to a hotter climate that dominated for centuries previously.

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