Native Americans make up less than one per cent of the total US population but represent half the nation's languages and cultures.
Here, in one grand sweep, is the full story of Native American society, culture and religion. Here is everything from the land-based spirituality of their early creation myths and the late rise of Indian Pride, to the 88 uses to which the Sioux put the flesh and bones of the buffalo and the practice of berdache (men adopted as women).
The book offers a chronological history of America's indigenous peoples. It covers their dramatic early entry into North America, out of the now submerged continent of Beringia, then in more recent times the 'forgotten wars' of the 16th and 17th centuries, which wiped many tribes from the face of the East Coast, and finally describes to the last struggles of the Cheyenne and the Comanche.
Celebrating these peoples' way of life rather than focusing narrowly on the manner of their genocide, it does not ignore uncomfortable facts of the Amerindian past - including the cannibalism believed to have been practised by some tribes and the Native Americans' part in the decimation of North America's buffalo herds.
About the Editor
Jon E. Lewis is a historian and writer, whose books on history and military history are sold worldwide. He is also editor of many The Mammoth Book of anthologies, including the best-selling On the Edge and Endurance and Adventure. He holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in history.
Reviewed by 1 customer
We are, of course, already familiar with the epic confrontations of the nineteenth century, the genocide (intentional or otherwise) committed by the white man, and the heroic, sometimes brutal resistance of the Plains Indians. Jon E Lewis places these struggles within a wider timeframe, one which embraces the Indians' creation myths, pre-Colombian civilizations such as the Anasazi and Huichol, the sophisticated democracy of the Iroquois (a major influence on the American constitution) and the relatively late introduction of the horse by the Spanish. It also serves to remind us that the tragic tale of the "Noble Savage" didn't end, as Dee Brown would have it, with the massacre at Wounded Knee, but continues to this day. Native Americans may make up less than 1 per cent of the US population but they still represent half the languages and cultures in the nation. Theirs is a tale of survival and hard-won victories as much as defeat and disenfranchisement. Lewis has, where possible, "let these individuals speak for themselves." But he is too modest. This is a fine and skilfully orchestrated history. (Kirkus UK)
Series: Mammoth Books
Number Of Pages: 571
Published: 26th February 2004
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.2 x 4.5
Weight (kg): 0.425