In Possessing Albany, 1630–1710, Donna Merwick reconstructs the manifold ways by which Dutch people of seventeenth century New York took hold of the New World. As Merwick reminds us, the Dutch understood themselves to be republican, urban, mobile, mercantile, and amphibious; in short, properly Dutch. She shows how the Dutch possessed the land, traded over it, surrendered it to the English, and then lived out their lives balancing a ‘gaze’ that the conquerors had for land against their own. The Dutch preferred to ‘navigate the land’, and as a consequence they settled in the New World along trade routes: navigatable rivers. The English, in contrast, who came in 1664, were concerned with land mass, with ‘occupying the land’. The proprieties that lay behind all the practices involved in ‘navigating’ and ‘occupying’ the land were cosmological. That is, the smallest action taken on the land reconfirmed the deepest sense of what it meant to be ‘civilized’. The conquest of 1664, then, was far more traumatic for the Dutch inhabitants than we have allowed ourselves to imagine. Merwick’s study moves across the boundaries of disciplines. She tries to understand those archives as the Dutch, the insiders to the culture, would have done.