The first third of this confident, extremely readable book about Indians in American history describes New World...

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THE LAST AMERICANS

The first third of this confident, extremely readable book about Indians in American history describes New World civilizations before the colonists arrived. To the reader, the most striking thing about the Indians (whom Brandon calls the world's oldest distinct race) is the diversity of their cultures, from the Mayan, with its baffling mixture of primitive agriculture and intellectual precocity, to the peaceful, democratic Hohokan irrigators of Arizona, to the narcotized cannibals of the Amazon, who farmed children. Brandon dwells on the part of the story that shows sobriety, equality, and great civility to Europeans, touching more lightly on the ecstatic or vicious sides of some tribal customs, while suggesting that the Apaches' cruelty to whites, for instance, was certainly provoked. Emphasis falls on the way the Indians helped the newcomers survive; Brandon notes that the rise of the chief stems from the whites' insistence on dealing with a ruler, so egalitarian Indians had to invent one. ""Mixed"" marriages out of and into the tribes are investigated as well as less happy subjects like the enslavement of the California Indians and the removal of the Indians from the Southeast. Brandon delights in reviewing the European's romanticized image of the Indian, from Montaigne to Jung, who believed he found an Indian streak in all his American patients. A satisfying narrative for a general audience, revised and expanded from the American Heritage Book of Indians, 1961.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973