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The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians
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The Red Swan: Myths and Tales of the American Indians

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3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  18 Ratings  ·  5 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)
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Cassie
Jan 19, 2016 Cassie rated it it was ok
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
...more
Christopher
Feb 25, 2012 Christopher rated it it was ok
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
Aug 07, 2013 Dusty Deal rated it really liked it
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
...more
Nikki
Mar 14, 2008 Nikki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Madeleine
Jaguar and the Fox stories are some quite... interesting tales.
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“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
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