A Time Before New Hampshire: The Story of a Land and Native Peoples

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In this masterful and elegant book, Michael J. Caduto tells the complete story of the land of New Hampshire--starting with the formation of earth 4.6 billion years ago and continuing with changes to its peoples and the environment through the seventeenth century. Part I offers a comprehensive look at every aspect of the ancient natural world--including geology, glaciology, botany, climatology, ecology, zoology, and paleobotany. It describes the formation of the land hundreds of millions of years ago as a result of major movements in the tectonic plates; chronicles the rise and fall of reptiles, mammals, birds, and plants and other life forms stemming from climatic changes; and explores the arrival of human beings during and after the relatively recent ice age. The rest of the volume immerses the reader in the history of the human populations in New Hampshire, beginning with the Paleoindian period of hunter gatherers over twelve thousand years ago and continuing through the arrival of horticulture among the Aln bak (Abenaki) and beyond. Caduto explores the Aln bak's day-to-day existence, culture, and traditional tales as preserved by archeologists, anthropologists, historians, and living cultures. Emphasizing the beliefs, cultures, and practices of these native people, Caduto details the Aln bak's relationship to the natural world as he tells the story of coevolution between the land and people through time. Caduto takes the reader on an exploration through New Hampshire's rich and diverse history--using first-hand experiences, re-creations of natural and human environments, journeys through historical landscapes and visits with the families of ancient people--to present a thorough profile of the early beginnings of the Granite State. The volume features an epilogue by Charlie True, Member of the Tribal Council, Abenaki Nation of New Hampshire, and nearly one hundred photographs, illustrations, and detailed maps depicting past peoples, historical trails, and indigenous cultures and environments of New Hampshire.

Product Details

University Press of New England
Publish Date
May 01, 2004
6.3 X 0.8 X 8.96 inches | 0.94 pounds
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About the Author

MICHAEL J. CADUTO is an author, naturalist, and educator, and the founder of P.E.A.C.E.(R) (Programs for Environmental Awareness and Cultural Exchange). He has written twelve books, including the best-selling Pond and Brook (UPNE, 1990) and Keepers of the Earth (1988).


Spendidly vivid accounts of geological history... All New Hampshire libraries will want this book.-- "CHOICE"
Caduto's A Time Before New Hampshire fills a major gap in the literature of both natural and human history in New Hampshire, as well as of their interrelationships. Caduto presents a rich and dense story in a remarkably engaging way... Readers are asked to walk on a solo 'time-lapse' journey through a vastly changing physical, environmental, and cultural landscape--starting from the beginning, and checking their twenty-four-hour watches along the way... Caduto has also consciously conducted his research in a manner respectful to both the ancestors and the descendants of the Native American Indians he discusses... Caduto's A Time Before New Hampshire is a must-read for every New Hampshirite and can be enjoyed by just about any audience.-- "Historical New Hampshire"
Anyone who has ever walked the woods, mountains and towns of New Hampshire knows the thrill of finding evidence of the region's vast history. In A Time Before New Hampshire, Michael Caduto tells the story of the land that is New Hampshire, starting with the formation of Earth 4.6 billion years ago and continuing with evolution of the natural environment up through its settlement by European colonists.-- "Northern New Hampshire Magazine"
A Time Before New Hampshire: The Story of a Land and Native Peoples is an important and unusual book. It's important because it brings together many stories of our region and connects them in ways that will, I think, touch readers profoundly--especially those who love the land. It is unusual because the connections ring so true, root so deep, and because the author, Michael J. Caduto, lets intuition and imagination lead him, and readers in turn, to places that fact and legend can only suggest.-- "Concord Monitor"