Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians” as Want to Read:
The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  16 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The best of the American Indian myths are works of art, blending form and content into an organic whole that interweaves the great themes of human experience. John Bierhorst's brilliant selection of sixty-four tales - each significant and interesting in itself - presents a comprehensive view of a world that will be both familiar and vastly different for 'Western' readers.T ...more
Paperback, 386 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by University of New Mexico Press (first published 1976)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Red Swan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Red Swan

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 41)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Feb 19, 2014 Cassie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: research, historians,
Recommended to Cassie by: Sleepy Poet Antique Mall
Because so much of the Native American culture is based around an oral tradition, it's tricky to compile those into a written narrative. A lot of these stories are hard to follow and tend to be very cyclical in their voice. If you get the chance, read one aloud and it should give you a better sense of the how the flow of the text should read.

That being said, I didn't enjoy very many of the these myths. It has a good variety of tribes, both of North and South American, but the stories weren't ve
I had high hopes for this as someone who is part Native American and perhaps that clouds my judgment. Despite that I found the myths and stories to be inscrutable and found the read to be boring. I was expecting more linear writing--A and B happened therefore C occured--instead it was "random occurrence A meets not-clearly-explained B which results in C which has nothing to do with either A or B." Giving it the benefit of the doubt perhaps there could have been details lost in translation and pe ...more
Dusty Deal
The introduction to this book is well worth the read, even if you don't 'get' the stories.
In my opinion, the real drawback to this book for most readers is that these stories are literally translated from oral tales which were told against the traditional & historical backdrops of the various tribes. Some of them are not going to make a lot of sense without that background. They also don't adhere to western expectations that A leads to B which results in C.
I think the book is an excellent s
Jan 31, 2015 Heather marked it as to-read
Shelves: ben
B C2 R4
It's not so much that this wasn't a great book, it's just that to truly appreciate American Indian Myths, you apparently need to study them out and learn lots of background. Without that, they just seem to meander and have no theme or purpose. I read some of the commentary and that helped but, in the end, it wasn't worth muddling through. I only read a third of it.
Jaguar and the Fox stories are some quite... interesting tales.
Cat_ski marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2015
Crystal marked it as to-read
Feb 14, 2015
Debbie Johnson
Debbie Johnson marked it as to-read
Feb 03, 2015
Anna Diaw
Anna Diaw marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2015
Hanna marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2014
Devero marked it as to-read
Feb 25, 2014
Lindsey marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2014
Angel Taylor
Angel Taylor marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2013
Gwyn Ryan
Gwyn Ryan marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2013
Holly added it
Apr 14, 2013
Tori K
Tori K added it
Mar 30, 2013
Scott marked it as to-read
Dec 31, 2012
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Latin American Folktales: Stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) The Mythology of North America Doctor Coyote: A Native American Aesop's Fables History and Mythology of the Aztecs: The Codex Chimalpopoca The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: The Iroquois Story of Creation

Share This Book

“A myth is an unverifiable and typically fantastic story that is nonethless felt to be true and that deal with a theme of some importance to the believer.” 0 likes
More quotes…