Published in a twenty-first century moment of fascination with social networks and the regulation of information flow, American Passage reconstructs deeper histories of these vital topics. Revisiting the seventeenth-century Northeast, Grandjean argues that an initial “communications frontier,” across which indigenous Algonquians and New England colonists grappled for influence with messages, rumors, and news, gradually gave way to a more stable landscape of colonial control. The book’s six chapters are organized chronologically to give an account of progressions—shifts from early colonists’ reliance on coastwise boat travel to their increasing familiarity with the region’s interior and from the individual, sporadic sending of messages (frequently dependent on indigenous couriers) to the creation of a regularized intercolonial postal system. The book acknowledges fits and starts in these processes and the difficulties that upheavals like warfare could bring. But in the aggregate, the story suggests a cumulative movement toward colonial infrastructure and Euro-American hegemony. It...
American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England. By Katherine Grandjean (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2015) 320 pp. $29.95
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Christine DeLucia; American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England. By Katherine Grandjean (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2015) 320 pp. $29.95. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2015; 46 (3): 450–451. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_00880
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