Murder State

  • by Brendan C. Lindsay
  • Narrated by Jim Wentland
  • 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the second half of the 19th century, the Euro-American citizenry of California carried out mass genocide against the Native population of their state, using the processes and mechanisms of democracy to secure land and resources for themselves and their private interests. The murder, rape, and enslavement of thousands of Native people were legitimized by notions of democracy - in this case mob rule - through a discreetly organized and brutally effective series of petitions, referenda, town hall meetings, and votes at every level of California government.
Murder State is a comprehensive examination of these events and their early legacy. Preconceptions about Native Americans as shaped by the popular press and by immigrants' experiences on the Overland Trail to California were used to further justify the elimination of Native people in the newcomers' quest for land. The allegedly "violent nature" of Native people was often merely their reaction to the atrocities committed against them as they were driven from their ancestral lands and alienated from their traditional resources. Murder State calls attention to the misuse of democracy to justify and commit genocide.


What the Critics Say

"One of the most important works ever published on the history of American Indians in California in the mid-nineteenth century." (Indian Country)
"A significant historical account detailing white pioneers perpetrating genocide against California Indians." (Journal of American Studies)
"Perhaps the most provocative aspect of his book is Lindsay's connection of American democracy to the killing of Indians." (American Historical Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Essential history, mediocre reader

worthwhile, but the reader could have made listening more pleasant by using less forceful intonation .
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- Bonnie

Well researched, well presented, narrator sucked.

Would you listen to Murder State again? Why?

I would not listen to Murder State again. I would READ this book again, but I would not LISTEN to it again. The narrator was the absolute worst narrator I have ever had the displeasure of listening to, and I have listened to dozens and dozens of audio books. He was so bad, I had to stop listening to him about 30% through the book. I went out and bought the book, and just read it. The narrator mispronounced multiple words repeatedly, and had the worst habit of emphasizing every AND, often completely changing the meaning of the sentence. Jack AND JILL went up the hill. The boys AND GIRLS were in the yard. Sentence after sentence was rendered with no discernible vocal melody, incorrectly pronounced words abounded, and constant emphases was placed on the wrong words. The narrator was horrible...absolutely horrible.

What other book might you compare Murder State to and why?

An Indigenous People's History of the United States. Both are scholarly works that were well researched and well presented, and both focused on the genocide of Native Peoples.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jim Wentland?

Anyone who could read aloud in standard American English that isn't this guy. I would be willing to do it myself free of charge, just so that people could enjoy this important and well-written work.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This isn't the sort of book that would lend itself to being made into a film.

Read full review

- Nickolas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2016
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks