Atlas of the North American Indian, Revised Edition

Carl Waldman, Checkmark Books, 2000, 1997, 385 pages


i n the current political climate, it is difficult to find objective information concerning the history of Native Americans. Most authors find it impossible to allow the reader to form an independent interpretation of Indian history based on actual facts, and instead go on the warpath against the European-descended settlers, shooting rhetorical flaming arrows and forcing the reader to circle the wagons in self-defense. The first part of this book, while it makes no attempt to conceal its sympathy for the Indians' perspective, nonetheless contains a summary of the Indian Wars in North America that is somewhat objective and factual, if somewhat superficial. However, it concentrates on conflicts between settlers and Indians and ignores, for the most part, the wars that also raged among the Indians themselves, which were probably even more significant to the Indians than their problems with intruders from Europe (whom the Iroquois and Aztecs sometimes referred to as "food items").

The other chapters, on the Indians' traditional prehistory, culture, migrations, and contemporary concerns, are very poorly written, with short, dull sentences. In the last chapter, "Contemporary Indians", the author gives vent to his pent-up rabidly anti-American sentiment. The book contains considerable coverage of Canadian Indians as well as those in the USA.

April 28, 2002 Back