The Saltwater Frontier


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Indians and the Contest for the American Coast

Andrew Lipman

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A fascinating new perspective on Native seafaring and colonial violence in the seventeenth-century American Northeast

"Gripping. . . . Lipman innovatively uses the sea to unite the histories of New York, New England and the region's native peoples by following the sailing ships and canoes along Long Island Sound up to Nantucket."—Kathleen DuVal, The Wall Street Journal

Andrew Lipman’s eye-opening first book is the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events on distant shores.
Lipman’s book “successfully redirects the way we look at a familiar history” (Neal Salisbury, Smith College). Extensively researched and elegantly written, this latest addition to Yale’s seventeenth-century American history list brings the early years of New England and New York vividly to life.

Andrew Lipman is assistant professor of history at Barnard College, Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

"Written in lucid and graceful prose . . . Lipman’s impressive work is crucial reading."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"With The Saltwater Frontier, Andrew Lipman emerges as one of the greatest prose stylists among early American historians. Even more significantly, Lipman’s water-centric approach to Indian-European interactions upends much that we thought we knew. This book is simply superb."—Erik R. Seeman, author of Death in the New World: Cross-Cultural Encounters, 1492-1800

"Most histories claim to be new; Andrew Lipman’s The Saltwater Frontier actually is. He tells how, facing invasion from the sea, Indian peoples responded by turning to the sea."—Richard White, author of The Middle Ground

"This cutting-edge study will draw much needed attention to the waters of seventeenth-century Long Island Sound as a zone of Indian-colonial contact and imperial rivalry. Lipman approaches his topic with uncommon intelligence, creativity, and literary grace."— David J. Silverman, George Washington University

"A vitally important book for its maritime and regional foci, for its array of stunning insights on the events discussed, and for its engaging writing style."—Neal Salisbury, Smith College

"A brilliant reimagining of the English and Dutch settlements in New England and New York, and the role that the Atlantic Ocean played, as a frontier between the Native tribes and the European empires."—True West

"Gripping . . . Lipman innovatively uses the sea to unite the histories of New York, New England and the region's native peoples by following the sailing ships and canoes along Long Island Sound up to Nantucket."—Kathleen DuVal, The Wall Street Journal

"A profound, wide-ranging analysis of the commercial ambitions and vexed morality that transformed the Southern New England and New York coastal lands into the staging grounds they became."—Providence Journal

"An exceptionally well-written book."—Choice

"[Lipman] gives the reader an intriguing and ingenious story . . . enlightening and intelligent."—East Hampton Star

"Fresh and exciting . . . a brilliant book."—Mystic Seaport Magazine

"Deeply researched and crisply written . . . The Saltwater Frontier is an important book . . . Lipman imbues careful research with interpretive flair, and as a result the book glows with new insights."—American Historical Review

"[I]n its sweeping narrative, engaging style, minute research, and compelling argument, The Saltwater Frontier represents an important contribution to the growing fields of Atlantic studies and Native studies."—Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy, H-Amstdy

"An unraveling of New England narratives . . . The Saltwater Frontier will long remain a
beautiful rendition of the New England story, and for that we may be appreciative."—Juliana Barr, William and Mary Quarterly

Winner of the 2016 Bancroft Prize in American History

Won honorable mention for the 2016 PROSE Awards in the U.S. History category

Selected as a 2016 New England Society Book Awards Finalists in the Nonfiction: History & Biography category
ISBN: 9780300227024
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
360 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
20 b/w illus.