Turning Points—Actual and Alternate Histories
Native America from Prehistory to First Contact
by Rodney P. Carlisle and J. Geoffrey Golson, Editors
November 2006, 240pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-829-3
$103, £80, 90€, A142
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eBook Available: 978-1-85109-830-9
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What if Native Americans had used their overwhelming numbers to expel the first explorers and settlers? What if Mesoamerican Indians had developed better irrigation? This book answers these and other questions in a fascinating treatment of pre-Columbian America, both as it was and as it might have been.

This work is a fascinating history of precontact North America, presenting the facts and engaging the reader by using alternative history—what if key facts were different?—to help develop critical thinking skills.

The first title in ABC-CLIO’s groundbreaking series Turning Points—Actual and Alternate Histories delves into the history of North America before European contact. There is much classroom literature on Native Americans after first contact; there is little on the history before. This work fills that gap, detailing the thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Climate changes, major battles, technology, and settlement patterns—all played a part in shaping the pre-Columbian history of North America. This book takes eight key points in history, presents the facts as they happened, and examines what might have happened if there were different outcomes. Small changes can produce vastly different results; this book shows how, and engages students’ critical thinking skills while teaching them basic history.


  • Extensive chronology shows context for events and gives scope and coverage in single graphic presentation
  • Eight original essays, written by distinguished scholars specializing in Native America, followed by discussion questions
Rodney P. Carlisle, PhD, is professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, and vice president of History Associates Incorporated, Rockville, MD. His published works include the Encyclopedia of Politics and the Encyclopedia of Invention and Discovery.

J. Geoffrey Golson is president and editor of Golson Books, Ltd., Croton-on-Hudson, NY. His published works include the Encyclopedia of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and the four volumes in ABC-CLIO's Popular Controversies in World History.
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