Roughly, a rundown of Indian tribes, by geographic region, as they existed before and into the period of European penetration -- roughly because related topics (archaeological anecdotes, historical episodes, cultural manifestations) are introduced also and because the time span stretches to include hints of the fate of tribes without, frustratingly, any follow-up. The ""prehistoric"" designation is on the one hand inaccurate, 16th-19th century impressions being widely drawn on, and on the other restrictive. Almost invariably, evidence is presented as to tribal origins, land occupation and language family; less consistently, living patterns and unique traits are described. Major tribes are surveyed so summarily that the information has little value. Moreover, there is a curious dichotomy between the extensive reliance on contemporary accounts of Indian barbarity and the constant, cursory references to ""American injustice and cruelty,"" both products of a general lack of discrimination. Though each of the ten geographical sections has some sort of chronological basis, the short repetitive entries discourage steady reading, while spot information of a similar nature may be found in Swanton's more businesslike Indian Tribes of North America. The table of contents and index were not available for examination but however efficient they may be for access, the material itself and the manner of its presentation make the book peripheral.