I just finished reviewing Joshua L. Reid’s The Sea is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs for the Pacific Northwest Quarterly and it exceeding all of my expectations. I will let them publish my more extensive comments, and don’t feel it would be right to preempt them here, but let me offer a quick (AND STRONG) recommendation for this book.
I have long been aware of this project, and eagerly anticipating the book – mostly because I liked the topic. A maritime-borderland history of the Makah people. Too cool. Little did I realize how remarkably Reid would take an obscure regional history and transform it into a study that should force scholars in a lot of different fields to seriously reconsider some of the ways they have undertaken and bounded their work. The Pacific Northwest has long been a backwater of a topic, and woefully underrepresented in broader historiographies. Hopefully this book will correct some of that. Scholars of the North American West, Borderlands/Transnational History, Environmental Studies, and Indigenous Studies should spend some time with this book. Even if they have no familiarity with the PacNW, they will find considerable material here to ponder. It should shake up a lot of fields of study.
I will let the PNQ publish my more detailed thoughts, but take my recommendation now (read the review later, when it publishes) and buy this book. Grapple with it and think about new and innovative ways you can reorient, restructure, reconsider topics with which, perhaps, you have grown too familiar and comfortable. Let this book shake you up.
Thanks to Yale University Press for publishing this, and a big congrats to the University of Washignton Dept. of History for recently adding Josh to their faculty.