THE MAN WITH THE SILVER EYES by William O. Steele

THE MAN WITH THE SILVER EYES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The relationship between an eleven-year-old Cherokee boy called Talatu and a gray-eyed Quaker trader would undoubtedly seem old-fashioned, even paternalistic, were it not for the way in which Steele captures our attention by telling the story from Talatu's point of view. Seen through his eyes, Shinn the Quaker is part of the lazy, dirty, universally hated race of ""unegas"" and while Shinn's refusal to fight in the Revolution, which the Cherokees see as a war of brother against brother, is oddly admirable, his ability to read the signs of approaching winter marks him as a conjurer with great power for evil. The danger of this approach is that it's easy for us to feel superior--we know that Shinn hasn't caused Talatu to catch the smallpox, and we can wait confidently for Talatu to recognize his protector's kindly, even self-sacrificing nature. On the other hand, Talatu's joyously ritualized approach to hunting, his determination not to disgrace his clan by giving in to fear, and his belief that both the white man's labor in building a log cabin and his relaxation in wayside inns are useless and embarrassing are impressive enough to lend strength and texture to another journey down Steele's well-traveled wilderness paths.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich