Reference Books

THE NATIVE AMERICAN ALMANAC: A PORTRAIT OF NATIVE AMERICA TODAY by Arlene Hirschfelder and Martha Kreipe de Montano. Prentice Hall General Reference, 15 Columbus Circle, N.Y., NY 10023, (212) 373-8500. Illustrated, index, bibliography, maps, chronology, five appendices. 320 pp., $25.00 cloth. 0-671-85012-1

Much less ambitious, more selective, anecdotal, and valuable in its own way than the Gale Almanac. Focusing on Native peoples in the United States after their first encounter with Europeans, Hirschfelder and De Montano outline a brief history and furnish details on demographics, Supreme Court decisions, tribal governments and the U.S. agencies that aid (or hinder) them, languages, education, religion, games and sports, arts and communications, economics, natural resources, and Natives in the military, as well as listing the names and addresses of Native American tribes and tribal organizations. This volume is recom- mended for middle and high school libraries and those desiring a general overview of Native life. Reviewed by: Steve Brock

2nd Look:Much of the material in this Alamanac consists of lists, addresses, etc., which have dated very badly. I disagree that it's a good high-school reference. I found many inaccuracies, large and small, and the treatment of Native concerns is both trivializing -- a sports player is given the same weight as important leaders and thinkers -- and expressed in wooden prose. The authors appear unfamiliar with contemporary Native art and literature. Pictures are all black and white, poor quality reproductions. Few maps, bad ones. The indexes are poor, do not appear to have been profssionally done, as a reference work requirs. No Native viewpoint is really represented, in contradistinction to the dozen or more native scholars involved in preparation of the Gale reference works. The slim volume is unattractive, as well as containing many inaccuracies and space-fillers. Not recommended for anyone. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

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Native American BOOKS, text and graphics copyright Paula Giese, 1996

Last Updated: Friday, April 19, 1996 - 5:52:16 AM