Lecture and Book Signing
Wednesday January 18
Reception 5:30 pm
Program 6:00 pm
Book signing, 6:45 pm
(Copies of the book will be available at 20% off!)
David J. Silverman, Professor of History, George Washington University
Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America
Harvard University Press, 2016
Co-sponsored by the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) at the American Philosophical Society
The adoption of firearms by American Indians between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries marked a turning point in the history of North America’s indigenous peoples—a cultural earthquake so profound that its impact has yet to be adequately measured. Thundersticks reframes our understanding of Indians’ historical relationship with guns, arguing against the notion that they prized these weapons more for the pyrotechnic terror they inspired than for their efficiency as tools of war. Native peoples fully recognized the potential of firearms to assist them in their struggles against colonial forces, and mostly against one another.
“A good measure of a work of history is whether it changes the way we understand its subject. By that measure, David J. Silverman succeeds admirably in Thundersticks” -- Thomas E. Ricks, The New York Times Book Review
“Silverman’s compelling rediscovery of the ‘gun frontier,’ imaginatively conceived and deeply researched, is must reading." -- Daniel K. Richter
Research for Thundersticks was supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Library Company, and by a Library Fellowship and a grant from the Phillips Fund for Native American Research at the American Philosophical Society.