Page Smith was one of America's greatest historians. He made his mark with a history of the United States published in eight volumes, each volume carrying the subtitle `A People's History of the United States'. These were groundbreaking histories, composed as a long continuous narrative loosely organised around the themes present in each age or period. They were sourced almost entirely in contemporaneous accounts of the events covered, and they set the ground for a whole new approach to history.
During the last years of his life, Smith concentrated on composing a history of Native Americans after the first European contact. This manuscript was discovered unpublished after his death.
Using his wonderful technique of narrative, discovering in the events of each period the thematic overview of that period, he again turns to contemporaneous documents to provide the structure and substance of this history. Tragic Encountersgrants these oppressed and nearly destroyed people a chance to tell their own broad story. We know of no other similar attempt, and this book will surely caution and intrigue readers as they are offered a new slant on a very old subject.
Charles Page Smith (best known by his middle name) was a United States historian, author, professor and community activist. A veteran of the Second World War, he was awarded a Purple Heart for his service. He wrote more than twenty books, including the eight-volume series A People's History of the United States and John Adams, which was awarded the Bancroft Prize in 1963 and was a finalist for the National Book Award. As a professor, he taught at UCLA and later was the founding provost of Cowell College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. As an activist, he was a lifelong advocate for the homeless, community organisation and improving the prison system. Page Smith died in August 1995, one day after the death of his beloved wife, Eloise.