Not Stolen: The Truth About European Colonialism in the New World (Paperback)
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A renowned historian debunks current distortion and myths about European colonialism in the New World and restores much needed balance to our understanding of the past.
Was America really “stolen” from the Indians? Was Columbus a racist? Were Indians really peace-loving, communistic environmentalists? Did Europeans commit “genocide” in the New World?
It seems that almost everyone—from CNN to the New York Times to angry students pulling down statues of our founders—believes that America’s history is a shameful tale of racism, exploitation, and cruelty.
In Not Stolen, renowned historian Jeff Fynn-Paul systematically dismantles this relentlessly negative view of U.S. history, arguing that it is based on shoddy methods, misinformation, and outright lies about the past.
America was not “stolen” from the Indians but fairly purchased piece by piece in a thriving land market. Nor did European settlers cheat, steal, murder, rape or purposely infect them with smallpox to the extent that most people believe. No genocide occurred—either literal or cultural—and the decline of Native populations over time is not due to violence but to assimilation and natural demographic processes.
Fynn Paul not only debunks these toxic myths, but provides a balanced portrait of this complex historical process over 500 years. The real history of Native and European relations will surprise you. Not only is this not a tale of shameful sins and crimes against humanity—it is more inspiring than you ever dared to imagine.
About the Author
Jeff Fynn-Paul was born in Florida, raised in Pennsylvania, and has lived in seven countries since he turned twenty. The author of many books and articles, he is a professor of Global History and Economics at Leiden University, The Netherlands.
“Fynn-Paul brings historical understanding, scholarly skill, and sober reasoned judgment to the story of the European presence in the New World. From Columbus and the first Thanksgiving to the Trail of Tears, the result is a masterful exercise in historical understanding that relentlessly exposes the anti-Western myths that underpin the reigning view of American history.”
— Arthur Herman, New York Times bestselling author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World and The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World
“In a vigorous, excoriating rebuttal of current myths about the impact of the Europeans upon the Americas, Jeff Fynn-Paul shows how evidence has been manipulated in the interest of political activists whose understanding of the past is corrupted by their obsession with issues of today.”
— David Abulafia, Professor Emeritus of History, Cambridge University, and author of The Discovery of Mankind: Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus (2008)
“Not Stolen offers a brave, bold, direct contradiction of the fashionable story that European colonial endeavor in the Americas was nothing but a litany of theft, racism, enslavement, and genocide. Anyone who wants to know the whole, nuanced, humanly plausible truth about the encounters between Europeans and native American peoples should read this important book.”
— Nigel Biggar, CBE, Regius Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology at the University of Oxford and author of Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning (2023)
“Not Stolen is a dazzling work of history that corrects every modern shibboleth about the alleged evils of European colonization in the New World. One distortion, myth and outright lie after another is sharply rebuked with uncomfortable facts: Cortes did not commit genocide but was respected as a liberator by many Mexican tribes; native Americans were not peaceful environmentalists but hunted many species to extinction; American Thanksgiving resulted from Indian tribes seeking protection from their rivals; 95 percent of Indians survived the Trail of Tears; the U.S. government went to great lengths to inoculate Indians against smallpox. And so on. A significant and necessary book, coming at a time when the history profession is dominated by people who prefer ideology to facts.”
— Bruce Gilley, Portland State University, Author of The Last Imperialist (2021)