Young Adults Books

THE ANASAZI, Eleanor H. Ayer; Walker and Company, 435 Hudson St., N.Y., NY 10014, (800) AT-WALKER, (212) 307-1764 FAX. Simultaneously published by Thomas Allen and Son, Ltd., Markham, Ontario, Canada. 1993. 124 pages, map, index, bibliography, black and white photos, hardcover, $14.95. 0-8027-8184-5

This book covers the fascinating southwest Anasazi civilization -- which built cities and extensive road systems, and developed pottery to a high art -- through its abandonment (probably because of a long drought near the end of the 13th century) and sketches the migrations and resettlements of people of this culture, the "ancient ones" into today's southwestern Pueblos, Zuni, Hopi, and on the Rio Grande. The author's sources are entirely archaeological, she has not consulted elders of the Pueblo tribes, who are finally being consulteed by archaeologists for their continued knowledge of this ancient past. But as a presentation of this civilization from the "dug from the dead past" viewpoint, it is well-written, and unlike most such works does not say the people mysteriously vanished. She makes it clear they resettled and continued their culture and history in new areas, adapted to the drier climate that prevalied, and she deals with the coming of the Spanish, the Pueblo revolt led by Popé, the American takeover of their lands, and in a final chapter, daily life (centered on crafts and subsistnce farming) in Pueblos today -- actually, as it was about 20 years ago. The book's biggest disappointment is the muddy black and white photos. While this reduces publication cost, it is not suited to reproductions of any Native arts, nor the buildings and desert scenery. Color photos would have made an altogether more attractive book, and been clearer also. Reviewed by Paula Giese

File: ya341

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

Last Updated: Thursday, April 18, 1996 - 6:41:06 AM