Book Review: Cultures Collide

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

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Cultures Collide, the latest in the Crossroads America series from National Geographic, examines the cultural phenomena created by Europeans' visits and eventual settlement of North America and the effect of all of it on Native Americans, and vice versa.

As is usually the case with a National Geographic product, this book looks great. It is very clean and easy to read, and the illustrations are first-rate fantastic. The details included are fascinating as well, filling in gaps left by most standard-issue textbooks on the subject. Among those are these:

  • Beans, corns, and squash were called the Three Sisters.
  • Europeans brought turkeys to North America, only to find out that the animals ran wild there.
  • Native Americans often induced bison to stampede off cliffs in order to make it easier to kill them.
  • Evidence now suggests that trade between Native American tribes extended over hundreds of miles (and this without the use of a horse).
  • One of the sports practiced by Native Americans before Europeans came was what we now call lacrosse.

This book is a great introduction to the time period and its important events. A glossary at the end shores up the presentation.

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