A message of acceptance and sharing shines from every page of this multilayered compilation, which presents the old ways and more current practices of more than 500 diverse California tribal groups. Margolin and Montijo provide down-to-earth, sturdy commentary that aptly directs the flow of the book, studded with black-and-white historical photos and line drawings. This commentary links and embellishes formal quotations and first-person accounts from scholarly and special interest publications. The intent is to demystify, deromanticize, humanize, and communicate tribal ways, which the authors achieve, often through humor. For example, a Nomlaki man explains an aspect of the training of warriors in which the goal is to dodge arrows. Those who can't ""are advised to stay out of the thick of battle. Such a man might go to war, but he would stay in the back."" That's funny--in the way stories from elderly family members are often funny--as well as sensible and rendered on a human scale. The animist ideals and values associated with hunting, doctoring, dance, and the harvest are put in a realistic context, as well as a poetic one. All together, this is a remarkable book: balanced, informative, entertaining, and appealing.