This book is a compelling and balanced history of the California missions and their impact on the Indians they tried to convert. Focusing primarily on the religious conflict between the two groups, it sheds new light on the tensions, accomplishments, and limitations of the California mission experience.James A. Sandos, an eminent authority on the American West, traces the history of the Franciscan missions from the creation of the first one in 1769 until they were turned over to the public in 1836. Addressing such topics as the singular theology of the missions, the role of music in bonding Indians to Franciscan enterprises, the diseases caused by contact with the missions, and the Indian resistance to missionary activity, Sandos not only describes what happened in the California missions but offers a persuasive explanation for why it happened.

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