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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

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  950 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means
Paperback, 624 pages
Published November 15th 1996 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mr Means
Jan 13, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Boreal Elizabeth
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Pat Schakelvoort
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jackson Andrews
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Alexandra Cornelia
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book i truly captivating and I can't put it down, i'm halfway trough it. I think it offers a valuable insight into the real situation of american indians in the 19th and 20th century. It perfectly describes the harsh conditions under which they struggle to survive and all the anger that they show sincer they were deprived of their land and rights. But despite being a very good narrator, Mr. Means was a vey controversial man who has done many bad things. This is also quite natural when you gr ...more
Lee Heath
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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.
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book by a fearless leader
Jan 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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
Mars Weston
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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
Todd Myers
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will change everything you thought you knew about Russell Means, released in 1995, it explores his life up until then. An activist for the rights of American Indians during his life, Russell had plenty of issues/run ins with the US Government and was arrested several times, even ran for President on the Libertarian ticket. You really see how racist and backwards the government and Bureau Of Indian Affairs really are, even to this day. I really recommend this book and it will definitely ...more
James F
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Kathryn French
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Russell Means's autobiography is well worth reading, for several reasons.
First it is an unvarnished honest look at life as an Indian in the US in the 20th century. He tells about his own life, and about what the current modern culture is doing to the Indians' traditions.
Second, as a political activist, he has a unique perspective on what the western hemisphere governments have done to the native peoples of the Americas. It isn't pretty.
Third, and most pertinent to today's climate under the admi
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Bradbury
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book i believe i have ever read; I've actually read it twice purely because there is so much information in it that i couldn't take it all in at first.

I personally took a dislike to the man (and believe now he's older he has sold himself out to the people he spent his life fighting against). I don't agree with the way he has done certain things, but I believe in everything he stands for and understand that there were certain things that had to be done to get the point across. At
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
This is an unvarnished autobiography of a life-long political activist and sometime nativist militant. if I were born a member of the Lakota people, I would probably feel much the same that Russell Means did. He passed away in 2012. This is a good book for people to read who are smug in a one-sided view of American History and who are unaware of the price paid by Native peoples for European immigrant expansion across the Western half of the nation. The repeated violations of the Fort Laramie tre ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Rabbi Ben
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jens N
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the most influential books I have ever read. Means' pride and battle spirit is fundemental throughout his biography, mixed with emotional and shockingly cruel stories of the Lakotah people. His no-holds-barred attitude becomes easy to understand when he dives into his many examples of unfair treatment in his own country.

At times an emotional rollercoaster, it gives an extremely convincing testimony to the tragic history of his people, himself and the concept of a Eurocentric world view.
Paul Whetten
May 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Steve Andrews
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was already a follower of Russell Means's work so wasn't surprised that I enjoyed his autobiography in which he tells it like it was for him. It is a very honest book that focuses on many stages in his life and in which he admits where he has gone wrong or experienced big problems, but this is coupled with his often straightforward approach, his "warrior spirit" and courage. Essential reading if you really want to know about the American Indian Movement (AIM) and what it takes to be and Americ ...more
L.V. Sage
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book several years ago, but remember Means' candor, anger & passion well. It is important to revisit the Native American experience & I think, in particular, the history of AIM, the American Indian Movement. Means' personal journey is fascinating & gives much insight into Native American struggles, triumphs & religion. A must read for those interested in Native American studies & the history of the United States in general.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Where White Men Fear to Tread by Russell Means 2 15 May 08, 2015 07:00PM  
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  • Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas
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  • Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing
  • Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World
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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!” 50 likes
“Tourists came around and looked into our tipis. That those were the homes we choose to live in didn`t bother them at all. The untied the door, opened the flap, and barged right in, touching our things, poking through our bedrolls, inspecting everything. It boggles my mind that tourists feel they have the god-given right to intrude everywhere.” 27 likes
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