The Cherokees: A Population History is the first full-length demographic study of an American Indian group from the protohistorical period to the present. Thornton shows the effects of disease, warfare, genocide, miscegenation, removal and relocation, and destruction of traditional lifeways on the Cherokees. He discusses their mysterious origins, their first contact with Europeans (prob-ably in 1540), and their fluctuation in population during the eighteenth century, when the Old World brought them smallpox. The toll taken by massive relocations in the following century, most notably the removal of the Cherokees from the Southeast to In-dian Territory, and by warfare, predating the American Revolution and including the Civil War, also enters into Thornton's calculations. He goes on to measure the resurgence of the Cherokees in the twentieth century, focusing on such population centers as North Carolina, Oklahoma, and California.
Russell Thornton, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History since 1492 (1987).