Lost Tribes And Promised Landsi The Origins Of American Racism

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by Ronald Sanders Little, Brown, $15.00

Occasionally a new work of history appears that is so adventurous and elegant that the reader is awed. This is such a book. Ronald Sanders’ subject is how the Europeans who settled the New World had acquired the prejudices against Indians, blacks, and Jews that they brought here with them. In searching out the roots of American racism, he ranges back hundreds of years and among many peoples with a confidence and immediacy that seem to lay the past open before us. One intriguing speculation that is explored here is that Columbus’ family may have been conversas —Spanish Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity.

Not light reading, this one, but richly rewarding.