Before beginning the first chapter of this book, I only knew the story from the blurb on the jacket, which I read in a bookstore in Bellingham, Wa. BuBefore beginning the first chapter of this book, I only knew the story from the blurb on the jacket, which I read in a bookstore in Bellingham, Wa. But when I read the first chapter I realized I was learning about one of Seattle's greatest artists - though one unknown for far too long.
Curtis singlemindedly pursued one life vision from the late 1800s through the First World War: document the American Indian as she and he truly lived, before the American expansion, Manifest Destiny, and a culture of blatant racism and greed assimilated them. Although it cost him much - Curtis lost his wife, his reputation, and died penniless - his work documenting the reality of Native life was astounding. He produced twenty volumes of work, so exquisitely printed that the first reviews of his books were said to rival only the King James Bible. He made 200,000 photos. He recorded 10,000 songs. He wrote vocabularies and alphabets for 75 languages, many of which have been used by those tribes' descendants to revive their language. He transcribed rituals, stories, mythology. He produced the first deeply researched reconstruction of Custer's shameful work in The Battle of Little Big Horn, by talking to eyewitnesses on both sides of the battle. He told the story of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce wars, followed by the in humane treatment of the natives.
The Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher does an outstanding job of bringing this visionary the credit he deserves for such phenomenal work....more
This edition is NOT the Life of Columba by Adamnan, the key hagiography of St. Columba. It is instead an early 20th-century biography/hagiography whicThis edition is NOT the Life of Columba by Adamnan, the key hagiography of St. Columba. It is instead an early 20th-century biography/hagiography which uses Adamnan's tale and others as its core.
It lovingly tells the Columba story of life in Ireland, the Battle of the Books, exile to Iona, evangelism of the Picts and others in Scotland, and then the death of Columba. It's a nice, simple, clear story and a worthwhile addition to the bookshelf....more
(Rounded up from 4.5 stars because this is a unique approach to the subject matter).
The Back of Beyond is the story of author James Charles Roy's lead(Rounded up from 4.5 stars because this is a unique approach to the subject matter).
The Back of Beyond is the story of author James Charles Roy's leadership of a small pilgrimage/tour group in the rural parts of western Ireland. An American, Roy has written extensively on Irish history (his The Road Wet, the Wind Close is extremely well researched if a bit dry to read). The story is part memoir, part history, and part travelogue. It's a good tale of a tour guide trying to show his group a reality of Irish history stripped of its overly-romanticized tendencies.
Roy's personality is curmudgeonly and slightly difficult, but he is deeply passionate about the topic. He wants his group to see the reality of Irish history through its two weeks in-country, so they tour the backroads and little known places, rather than hearing tales of shamrocks and leprechauns. The story works because of Roy's angst and his passion, but especially because his humor negates his obviously overwritten grumpiness. Its a funny story filled with facts, stories, names and places, but is not the same old tales of a Magically Delicious country.
If you're looking for a romantic tale, look elsewhere. If you want to see the little details - for Roy's thesis is that the best things in Ireland are small and easily overlooked - then read this one.
Truthfully, I've tried reading The Road Wet... a few times now. I recognize that it's good, but it's dry. However, after finishing this later tale, I'm definitely going back to read it in full, recognizing that I'm hearing from a realist who still deeply values the magic of Irish history, from its saints to its overlords, even if that magic isn't the simplistic thing that is usually told to American tour buses....more
I need to buy a copy for my Celtic bookshelf. Extremely well researched, and a critical look at the impact of the Northmen/Vikings on the people in BrI need to buy a copy for my Celtic bookshelf. Extremely well researched, and a critical look at the impact of the Northmen/Vikings on the people in British/Celtic lands, beginning with the first raid on Lindisfarne and then Iona and all around the coasts.
I skimmed that last 2/3 of the book, enough to know that this is a good one to refer back to for a different perspective and good historical data....more
The Pict was a fun, quick read. It's page turning historical fiction about a people group that we know little about, and though I wouldn't say I knowThe Pict was a fun, quick read. It's page turning historical fiction about a people group that we know little about, and though I wouldn't say I know a lot more about the Picts now, I enjoyed this sketch a great deal....more
This is an extremely well researched, thorough, and careful book. It explores the history of white settlement in the Puget Sound (Seattle, WA) area, tThis is an extremely well researched, thorough, and careful book. It explores the history of white settlement in the Puget Sound (Seattle, WA) area, through the story of Leschi, a leader of the Nisqually people. Leschi was an early friend of the British and American settlers, but was incensed by the poor treatment of the Washington territory governor's treaty demands, which gave native nations very small and horribly poor quality reservations. Leschi became a guerilla leader staging sporadic attacks on territorial troops in an effort to bring about a more fair treaty allocation for the Nisqually tribe. In the process, he became Gov. Stevens' singleminded focus, and when Leschi was eventually turned in and tried, the process was a farce of justice.
The book wraps up the Leschi tale with a "historical trial" which found that Leschi should not have been tried as a civilian and hanged; but as a combatant in wartime should have been released when the nations were at peace. Finally, the book describes the current state of Nisqually tribal affairs, and their long-awaited hope for a future less desolate than their past under the white empire.
I'm rounding up from 4.25 stars, because this story needs to be told. It's slow and plodding at times, with a dry names-and-dates feel in early chapters, but the story itself is full of twists, turns and intrigue. ...more