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Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means
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Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  741 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Russell Means is the most controversial Indian leader of our time. Where White Men Fear to Tread is the well-detailed, first-hand story of his life so far, in which he has done everything possible to dramatize and justify the Native American aim of self-determination, such as storming Mount Rushmore, seizing Plymouth Rock, running for President in 1988, and--most notorious ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published November 15th 1996 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1995)
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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownBlack Elk Speaks by John G. NeihardtLakota Woman by Mary Crow DogIn the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter MatthiessenPrison Writings by Leonard Peltier
Native American Biography
6th out of 133 books — 56 voters
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74th out of 234 books — 109 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mr Means
Although this is a good read, there are some serious issues with the "facts" as presented. The name Means is Gaelic in origin and does not come from the mistranslation and shortening of "Trains His Horses well". My and his Great Great... Grand father was not Native.

Russell lived with my Grandfather and Father for a short period of time as stated in his book (although some of the names were inaccurate due to the fog of time). He has also misrepresented his involvement with AIM, as he officially
I enjoyed reading this book, but I don't believe half of what he writes. I give him due credit for being a radical and a rascal.
Adrian Rush
I grew up in a small Michigan town named for an Indian chief who gave his life to save the white settlers there. More importantly, my own ancestry includes some Cherokee and Blackfoot blood. So I've always taken a special interest in American Indians and their struggles to maintain their identity, their dignity, and even their lives. That's why I was attracted to Russell Means' story. This libertarian Lakota is as mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore. Not content to live as a broke ...more
Pat Shackleford
Means is a uncompromising activist he doesn`t make excuses for being a radical and for having had contacts with other radical groups. He has a aim for his people and he only cares about his people.

He doesn`t make excuses for disliking white people, esspecially rednecks. Although I don`t agree on his views on the white working class. It were the big coperations who stole the indian lands and dumped the Indians in white society and forces the Indians to integrate.

His criticism of the ignorant le
This autobiography examines in depth the life and times of Russel Means, an activist that continues to fight for native american sovreignty. His story will make you appreciate the extent of his convictions and it will underscore governmental plots to discredit the American Indian Movement.
Amazing book by a fearless leader
Russell Means was an American Indian activist, part of the American Indian Movement and later in life, an actor. I've only seen a few of the movies he was in, Disney's Pocahontas and the 2007 movie Pathfinder.

I've read a lot about him online, about his life and the things he has done, both good and bad. Even after reading his book, I'm still not sure what to think of Mr. Means.

One thing is for sure that he got people's attention. I definitely learned a lot more about him while reading this book
Jackson Andrews
I am a very picky reader but even though I am just that; the book is magnificent. I would give it five stars. The truth inside the story may be hard for some readers to believe, or even to accept. The struggle Russell Means stands for may not always be an agreeable problem. For someone who went through so much turbulence because of his heritage to write a work of art like this is remarkable.

If you visualize as you read this story you feel the emotion of his words. Up and down like a rollercoaste
Mars Weston
"We don't exist in the twentieth century."

"Understand that the choice is based on culture, not race. Understand that to choose European culture and industrialism is to be my enemy. And understand that the choice is yours, not mine."

"Americans don't have a culture. They left their cultures behind. Culture is about values. Anybody who says anything different is a democrat....or a republican."

Very engrossing. Couldn't put it down and tore through the 550 pages in 12 hours.

Brave and relentless. He
Lee Heath
One of my absolute all time favorites. Don't let the thickness of this book scare you! This autobiography tells, "The other side". Russell Means is a true American Indian activist/leader, who fought for his country, stood up for his rights and the rights of his people and the land. I found this book to be honest, direct and eye opening. It gives light, reason and understanding to
what really happened at Wounded Knee. Since reading this book, I have traveled to meet Russell Means to see for myself
James F
The autobiography of Russell Means, one of the leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM) at the time of the Wounded Knee occupation. If anyone thinks that the genocide against the American Indians is ancient history, they should read this book. It describes in painful detail the racism against native Americans during our own lifetimes, the corrupt and scandalous role of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the continuing theft of Indian land, and the many violations of human rights, including murde ...more
Boreal Elizabeth
This is probably one of the most important american autobiographies, ever. Means coherently and movingly tells the story of the American Indian and the genocide and political suppression perpetrated on them. No history of his people is complete without his and his contemporaries stories. No history of white men in America is complete without this story. If it didn't really happen you wouldn't beleive it and since this history is so recent it is so important that it be told.
i truly engrossing account of the rise of AIM, the American Indian Movement, and all the horrors that led up to it and followed. The author definitely paints himself in the best light, but given all that happened i think that is justifiable. it bogs down a bit toward the end, but i think this should be required reading for every American citizen.
College read, when I was "militant."
No book has angered me as much as Where White Men Fear to Tread. While I understand the frustration the Means must have felt, especially when looking at the horrid way his ancestors have been treated by the US Government, and the persistent racism that was still visible in the 1980s, but I do not see how he could use this to justify his atrocious behaviors.

Means was an egomaniac and hypocrite who believed in equality for Native Americans. He wanted people to join his movements, and be apart of
A candid autobiography of an interesting individual whose impact on the radical times of the 1970's is without doubt. It is a book full of braggadocio about his partying, fighting and womanizing in addition to his work with AIM. Kudos for including details that didn't always portray Mr. Means in the best light: alcoholism, spousal abuse, neglect of his children. Probably included in part as therapy as it seems that this book may have come about as part of his treatment for anger management. As a ...more
My first year in college I was taking a communications/media class that I skipped a lot, which may have been part of why I read the entire book, not just the assigned chapters. One of the extra things I read was an essay by Russell Means. It was fascinating, but also bitter, and I was not sure if I could trust what he was saying, especially his criticism of other AIM members. So later, when he started an acting career, I thought maybe he had mellowed. Maybe not.

That’s still how I find him. Some
A very long autobiography about a disillusioned, bitter and angry Indian, as Means preferred to be called. His anger, at times is quite understandable under the circumstances that he describes. However he was also a very self-assured and no-nonsense type of man. His righteous and staunch defense of his people, their land and their rights, is commendable but often too disjointed, especially his assorted trials. He often failed to take responsibility for his actions, however misguided, for his chi ...more
So I kind of had to read this book at a sprint because it sat on my table for awhile and then all of a sudden was due back at the library and couldn't be renewed... so I tried to read it in about 3 days. It's about 550 pages. It was hard.

That being said, I'm glad I read it. I'm relatively aware of how much Indians have been screwed over, but because they've been successfully ghetto-ized (as in, pushed back into a confined area), it's hard to really see the impact of the reality of that. But then
This is the first autobiography that I have read where I can't say that I like the author better or less for having read it. I have always admired Russell Means. I have admired his courage to stand up for his beliefs, and I am old enough to remember his protests in the news as they were happening. He is a man of conviction. He is also a bit of an asshole. Showing the darker side of himself as he does throughout this book, makes him a more sympathetic protagonist. I found the beginning of the boo ...more
Oct 23, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone needing to understand the civil rights movement for Native Americans.
I read this when I was about 18 years old and just starting to learn about my heritage on the Lakota side. Being without contact with my father since I was 9 years old, this book really helped me to understand the world he grew up in. And I often think of Russells comment in the book about the SunDance tree being an Aspen, instead of a Cottonwood, and I have to say I think he was right.
Rabbi Ben
Russell Means is probably the most famous living Native American, although according to his book, written with (and mostly by, I would guess) Marvin Wolf, a professional writer, Means prefers to be called an Indian, not a Native American. He has crammed several lifetimes of adventure into his years, and if he sometimes comes across a bit snarky, it isn't bragging, it's just what happened to him and how he feels about it. If you thought you knew anything about American Indians, this book will ope ...more
Tommy /|\
Russell's autobiography was an interesting read - and in the beginning, very inviting. Then somewhere around the midway point to 2/3rds of the way through, the book changed into a rantish perspective of how much better the Native American populations were then the entirety of the whole race of the White-man. This trail of anger eats through any usefulness and knowledgeable perspective that Means brings out in the rest of the book. And honestly, it spoils what I felt was a very good book. I give ...more
Randy Daugherty
To say Russell Means is controversial would be an understatement.
As one of the founders of A.I.M. he took part in the raidical upheaval of the 1970's.
He does not glorify his use of drugs or alcohol nor the life he was forced to lead as he grew into adulthood.His several marriages and children and his lack of ability to take responsibility for them.
There may be some discrepancies as to certain facts whether to time or upon purpose this is still a good read and an important one in regards to the m
I loved this book and was fortunate enough to have the chance to meet the author at a book signing. It was just after "The Last of the Mohicans" had come out with Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye. Mr. Means was an imposing figure. Well over 6 feet tall, he had gorgeous, shining black hair, in braids, and penetrating eyes. He spoke for awhile and then signed books and I remember when it became my turn and he asked for my name, and I told it to him, he said, "Jonna, you live in a beautiful land. Take c ...more
It is long and does drag in some places but it is well worth the read. If your not big on long reads I would still urge you to just read the epilogue and appendix. The amount of wisdom contained in those alone makes the book worth reading.
Dec 28, 2014 Evelyn added it
amazing history of aim and other details of native American culture. highly readable and understandable. great storyteller.
A must read if you have any questions about Russell Means, AIM and the history of Native America
Melody Mees Bass
Excellent autobiography by one of the most important people in the struggle for Native American rights
Paul Whetten
The most compelling part of this story was Mr. Means' spiritual journey back to the traditional beliefs of his ancestors. He speaks with great reverence about the traditions of his ancestors and those who are committed to living traditionaly. In the rest of the book he comes across as a force to be reckoned with on comtemporary Indian issues. I got the impression that, had he lived in the 1800's he would have been another Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, or Geronimo.
It was good to get an Native Americ
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2015 Reading Chal...: Where White Men Fear to Tread by Russell Means 2 12 May 08, 2015 07:00PM  
  • Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee
  • Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance
  • Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present
  • The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull
  • The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History
  • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
  • Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
  • Lakota Woman
  • Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas
  • Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota
  • Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement
  • Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing
  • Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World
  • 500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians
  • Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation
  • The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux
  • The Killing of Crazy Horse
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
Russell Means (Lakota: Oyate Wacinyapin; is one of contemporary America's best-known and prolific activists for the rights of American Indians. Means has also pursued careers in politics, acting, and music.
In 1968, Means joined the American Indian Movement and quickly became one of its most prominent leaders. In 1969, Means was part of a group of Native Americans that occupied Alcatraz Island for
More about Russell Means...
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“When a woman grabs my braids and says "How cute!" I crab her breast and say "How cute!" She never touches me again!” 42 likes
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