2022 Nicole Eustace, Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America (Liveright)
This is, quite simply, a brilliant work. Covered with Night artfully builds on the story of white colonists’ murder of a Native person to construct a richly illuminating history of the clash of Native peoples’ concepts of justice, reparations, and civility with those of the English colonials. The author’s sensitivity to language in the archival record she examines so scrupulously is matched by the supple imaginativeness of her own writing. Deftly deploying a style that might be described as cinematic, or perhaps, mixing the metaphor, pointillist, Eustace exquisitely evokes the thought-and-sentiment worlds of both the indigenes and the colonists who compose her story. Readers come away with a significantly enhanced, deepened understanding of indigenous cultures and the nuances of settler-indigene interaction in 18th-century America. Eustace builds to a robust assertion that the Albany Treaty of 1722, which concludes her story and still stands as “the oldest continuously recognized treaty in in the history of the United States,” can be seen as a foundational document in American history.
Eustace, Professor of History at New York University and the Director of the NYU Atlantic History Workshop, is the author or editor of three previous books.