am 21. November 1999
It's actually hard, finding good books on American Indian topics that work in the classroom (I teach at a medium-sized public university). There are plenty of out-of-date books. Lots of terrible "pc" books. But few that actually convey information in an attractive and interesting fashion. This is definitely one of the latter type. The maps are clear, the illustrations accurate, and the amount of information presented is surprising. There's a tremendous amount of material packed between the covers of the "Atlas"---and it's a good deal more than a collection of maps. This is one of those books that some students---especially those planning on becoming teachers---may actually decide to keep. My own copy is well-worn from use, and often consult it to clear up questions both large and small. The best comprehensive source I've seen for this kind of money.
am 3. Juni 1997
This is the Atlas every school (college and university) library should have. Most classroom teachers and all who asssume the resonsibility of any kind of Native American studies .
Although it has a good deal of Canadian material and maps, I am less certain how well it compares to Native atlas sources that might be available from Canadian publishers, lacking such comparisons, I can still say it is a fine source for those educators who wish to give an indignous overview perspective.
As to be expected in an atlas, maps are the heart of the visual presentations of data. These maps are black outlines and hatchings, most often on brownish colored ground. All except for a few big 2-page spreads will photocopy all right for class handouts (though white backgrounds would have been preferable). They are well labeled.
Braun, a former real-property cartographer, has followed (and used many of the maps from) the classic renditions of Massey and Driver, to present physiographic features and cultural technologies of the pre-contact cultures. (The Massey-Driver maps are the only ones that are credited to a source, though I recognized sources for most of the others.) She reproduces only a few old maps, and those mostly for illustration.
The analytic maps are clear, accurate outlines, and include (for the U.S.) present-day reservations, land claims (U.S. claims commission), cessions, and many maps summarizing historical and cultural data.
For Canada, maps show all treaties in outline, but for present-day settlements, there is only the Canadian National Atlas Service folding map mess of some 2,400 specks, without even the numbers that correlate these with some 600 bands. Canadian Reserve maps are still wanting.
In addition to maps and many black-and-white illustrations, a text divided into 7 chapters gives coherence to the histories and cultures.
Chapter 1 covers very ancient times, prehistoric and (in the Beringia theory) conbtroversial among some of today's Natives who want to reject all migration theories in favor of cultural-religious accounts of tribal origins. This section is marred by uncritical acceptance of "Sandia man" now widely (and with many good reasons) regarded as an academic hoax. Ancient Civilizations covers those of Meso America, the southwest, and the Adena-Hopewell-Mississippian mound builders. Missing: Inuit-circumpolar.
Chapter 3 covers pre-contact culture areas, which examines lifeways, population density (noting the controversy there), and how art, technology, transportation, shelter, etc. grew in relation to the physical conditions of the various areas. Chapter 4 deals with early contacts, primarily in North America, concentrating on the fur trade. (Mexico and cultures south are abandoned at this point.)
Chapter 5 deals with Indian wars, from the Powhattan wars in what's now the U.S. through the Riel rebellions in late 19th-century Canada. Land cessions are covered in chapter 6. Chapter 7 covers concemporary Indian peoples in the U.S. and Canada, and includes interesting map-based analyses of Indian activism.
A 50-page appendix includes a chronology of important events, listings of tribes and bands of the U.S. and Canada with both historic and contemporary locations, a listing of places with Native names (U.S. and Canada), and a listing of museums and archaeological sites in both countries. A short (2-page) bibliography and an inadequate index complete the work, whose usefulness would have been improved by a "table of descriptions" for all the maps, as well as more complete sources for all of them.
Maps are catregorized by the authors as Historical, Military, Cultural, Contmporary, and Period, but the physiographic maps of Driver and Massey form a category themselves, and the maps are not tabulated or described except in their captions. Waldeman, the principal author, is former archivist for the New York State Historical Association, an amateur historian, and his wife is more an illustrator than a professional cartographer.
-- Reviewed by Paula Giese (Native American Books, [...]
am 29. Juni 1997
Not just maps, but a concise enclopedia of the North American
Indian, with brief but comprehensive coverage of
history, culture, languages, lifeways, the
impact of the European explorers and the subsequent
deterioration of native American life.
As conflict characterized the Indian experience in
historical times, wars are treated in considerable
detail, with basic sympathy to the natives' position
but with a welcome avoidance of stereotyping and
With Facts On File's usual excellent maps, bibliography,
and index, and useful appendices with a chronology,
historical and contemporary locations, reservations,
museums, and more.
Essential for anyone interested in the
Indian experience, and highly recommended for the
reference shelf of the general reader.
(The numerical rating above is a default setting
within Amazon's format. This reviewer does not
employ numerical ratings.)