TAOS by Irwin R. Blacker
Kirkus Star


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This is less concentrated than Westering (1958) which bare-boned pioneering- for, in taking an uprising of Nuevo Mexico Indians (which united them for a time) and its effect on the Spanish overlords in 1680, the canvas stretches -- and sometimes thins. The focus shifts from the alerting of the scattered tribes around Taos and their joining in the common effort to destroy the whitefaces under the leadership of the medicine man Pope, to the Spanish settlements, their leaders and priests who are roused by the threat to their tight-held domination. Established hacendados, their families, governors, holy men and their lesser brothers are caught in the holocaust springing from the aroused Indians -- converts among them leaving the faith to join raids and massacres. And the account follows mainly the siege that Don Antonio de Otermin, Governor and Captain General of the Province, at first withstands but which later forces him to evacuate the survivors on a long, hazardous march to dubious safety. The hard firm character of the Taoans emerges again for a short flare-up; some of the clergy die as martyrs, others surmount the physical to find a truer spirituality; and the Spanish, with only the will to live, lose their symbols of conquest, in their efforts to survive. Many panelled, vivid and touched with the gift of story- telling, this recreates and revives a small historical episode in all facets of characters and events. Certainly to be recommended for a regional audience as well as that which appreciates the magnification of a true bit of American background.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1959
Publisher: World