WHERE WHITE MEN FEAR TO TREAD: The Autobiography of Russell Means by Russell with Marvin J. Wolf Means

WHERE WHITE MEN FEAR TO TREAD: The Autobiography of Russell Means

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An overlong but often riveting account of the life of perhaps the most compelling American Indian of this century. Means has never been far from controversy, and in this autobiography, written with Marvin Wolf (Family Blood: The True Story of the Yom Kippur Murders, 1993), he covers nearly all those he has been tangled up in. From his street-punk days in San Francisco and Los Angeles, to his time as an accountant and data processor, to his leadership in the militant American Indian Movement, to his current work as a film actor, Means recounts his nearly always interesting and complicated life. His memoir is action-packed, offering insider accounts of events like AIM's 71-day takeover of Wounded Knee in 1973, Means's near-constant barroom brawling, and his frequent brushes with death. Means interweaves the book with sometimes too much historical context from his family and tribal nation, the Oglala Lakota, and occasionally goes on at too much length about his opinions on subjects like the American educational system, but he also allows his best side to shine through, as father, son, and many-times husband. All in all, Means comes across as honest--even if at times he seems to take more credit than he deserves for various actions he was involved in (others in the drama, especially Indian leaders, will almost undoubtedly take Means to task on his characterizations of them). If nothing else, being able to get inside his head and understand his rationale for certain choices (like serving as pornographer Larry Flynt's running mate for the Republican presidential nomination) is worth the price of the book. Rarely reaches searing heat or soaring heights, but Means manages to sustain interest and energy throughout.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0312147619
Page count: 608pp
Publisher: St. Martin's