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.

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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

Narrator needs to learn pronunciation!

What would have made Murder State better?

A better narrator.


Would you recommend Murder State to your friends? Why or why not?

Not in audible format.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

Aside from mispronouncing words and place names, the entire narration was lifeless.


Any additional comments?

The story and subject matter are compelling and deserve a far better presentation.

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- CDF

Essential history, mediocre reader

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

Book Details

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