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Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  18 ratings  ·  7 reviews
A book that radically changes our understanding of North America before and after the arrival of Europeans

Encounters at the Heart of the World
concerns the Mandan Indians, iconic Plains people whose teeming, busy towns on the upper Missouri River were for centuries at the center of the North American universe. We know of them mostly because Lewis and Clark spent the winter
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Hardcover, 480 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Hill and Wang
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(showing 1-30 of 97)
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Roger
I gave this book three stars because I did learn some things about the Mandan, but overall I found the book too Eurocentric and a weak attempt at truly understanding the Mandan. It was a book about the Mandan culture through a European lens and needed more of a Native American view. There was too much focus on the author’s background of writing about smallpox epidemics in America and it carried over far too much in this book. Overall the book lacked continuity and needed more focus on the oral h ...more
Melissa
Indians. Lumped together in a single word are so many different types of peoples that are just beginning to be teased out, separated, and explored. Fenn does a wonderful job bringing the latest explorations of the culture, artifacts, and the land to life while she talks about the Mandan people from the Dakotas, and their neighbors, and the forces that changed and altered their society. Beautifully referenced and footnoted. Wonderful book and I look forward to more just like it.
Maggie Reed
Believe it or not, this is another book that is overfilled with footnotes. Still, it was fantastic research on the Mandans,Hidatsas, Arikaras, Yankton Sioux, and a little bit on the Crees, Blackfeet, Crow and a few others. I learned a great deal about the northern end of the Louisiana Purchase, its history before French "ownership", and the eventual acquisition by the US. You just have to read it. It's not hard to read, and I'd be writing another book just based on my description. :) Elizabeth d ...more
Brian
excellent book delving into the history of the Mandan tribe from pre-history to modern times. The book covered many interesting details about Mandan culture and gave me a new perspective on the horticultural river tribes and their place in the history of the northern plains.
Julia Hendon
An impressive feat of research and writing that makes the most of a scattered and diverse set of sources to produce a fascinating history of the Mandan people through the early 1800s. Renowned throughout the Missouri River watershed as traders and farmers, host to Lewis and Clark, and willing to extend cordial relations to all comers as long as they kept the peace, the Mandan were powerful players in the complex social framework of the region. Fenn emphasizes how they saw themselves as at the ce ...more
Thomas Isern
I'll review this work in my weekly feature, Plains Folk. Quite an impressive synthesis of Mandan history, and an interesting work in terms of structure and voice.
Alessandra
Vivid prose meets nuanced interpretation in Elizabeth Fenn's thoughtful study of the Mandan. Not least of her achievements is her re-telling of the Mandan's pre-colonial past.
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