The lure of the Land of Enchantment is irresistible, as Nabokov draws us into the simple, cooperative life of the Pueblo...




In the story of Edward Proctor Hunt’s family, Nabokov (World Arts and Cultures, American Indian Studies/Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places, 2006, etc.) reveals the history of the Pueblo Indians.

Named “Day Break” when he was born into the Acoma Pueblo, a “mesa-top village…in western New Mexico,” in 1861, Hunt lived the self-sufficient life common to the communal, insulated Pueblo. He was initiated into the Pueblo’s religious rites and, after a near-death experience, the secret Fire Society. Eventually, he became a shaman. Despite not including details “best left alone,” the author vividly explores the different ceremonies. Hunt spent three years being re-educated at the Indian Training School and there found his Anglo name in a Bible. He also became a Koshare, or sacred clown spirit whose laughter represented detachment and, thus, freedom. Hunt “knew something about himself,” making him one of the strongest members of the community. He also remained a closeted Christian. Nabokov’s deep feeling for this civilization is obvious in his descriptions of the land and the Pueblo’s strong ties. Hunt’s entrepreneurial spirit, his ease with outsiders, and his financial success eventually led to his departure from the Pueblo. With the help of his wife and sons, he dictated the Acoma creation myth at the Smithsonian Institute over nine weeks in 1928. They explained the myths, legends, and history through the genres of prayer, chant, tale, myth, legend, and song. His family made a life selling tribal art and pottery and as “show Indians” touring Europe and the United States. The pull of the Pueblo was always powerful, and the familial ties and love of ceremony and song were sufficient to bring them back often.

The lure of the Land of Enchantment is irresistible, as Nabokov draws us into the simple, cooperative life of the Pueblo Indians and their magnificent territory. A great choice for lovers of the Southwest.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-02488-9

Page Count: 484

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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