Document Type

Book Review

Citation Information

Please cite to the original publication


John Phillip Reid's latest book, A Better Kind of Hatchet: Law,
Trade, and Diplomacy in the Cherokee Nation during the Early
Years of European Contact, is ostensibly a study of trade relations
between South Carolina and the Cherokee Indians during the first
third of the eighteenth century. But taken in conjunction with his
earlier book, A Law of Blood: The Primitive Law of the Cherokee
Nation, the new book is, in truth, much more. At the deepest level,
Reid's achievement in the two books is to suggest to white Americans,
first, some ways in which our understanding of other more
"primitive" peoples with whom we have come into contact has been
limited; second, the wounds sustained by those other peoples as a
result; and third, how the limitations upon our understanding of
other cultures are simultaneously limitations upon our understanding
of our own.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Native American, legal history, early contact