AN INDIAN WINTER by Russell Freedman
Kirkus Star


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Age Range: 10 & up
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In 1833, a German prince, Maximilian of Wied (1782-1867), hired the young Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809-93) and set out with him to study Native Americans. They wintered with the Mandans in what is now North Dakota; Maximilian spent the next four years editing his extensive journals, producing a book illustrated with engravings that Bodmer made from his own paintings (which were then sent to Wied, where they stayed until 1962; they're now in a museum in Omaha). Quoting extensively from Maximilian's account, Freedman describes the journey and, especially, the Mandans and Hidatsas as Maximilian found them: their customs, artifacts, social structure, and the individuals who became their close friends. Bodmer's paintings and sketches--landscapes, portraits, and active scenes--appear on almost every double spread, occasionally varied with his engravings or other illustrations, e.g., self-portraits by Mandan friends who were interested in Bodmer's technique. The book closes with the Indians' later history (these tribes were devastated by smallpox in 1837) and five "Places to Visit." As he has clone so often, most recently in The Wright Brothers (1992 Newbery Honor), Freedman combines a lucid, gracefully written, impeccably authentic text with beautifully chosen historical illustrations in a handsome and fascinating book; the result here is especially compelling because the material will be new to most readers. Another splendid achievement. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: April 15th, 1992
ISBN: 0-8234-0930-9
Page count: 88pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992


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