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Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awat'ovi Massacre

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Hopi community of Awat’ovi existed peacefully on Arizona’s Antelope Mesa for generations until one bleak morning in the fall of 1700—raiders from nearby Hopi villages descended on Awat’ovi, slaughtering their neighboring men, women, and children. While little of the pueblo itself remains, five centuries of history lie beneath the low rises of sandstone masonry, and ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 15th 2016 by W. W. Norton Company
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Max Carmichael
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
It's possible to extract some good information from this opaque and confusing correlation of the archaeological, ethnographic, and historical records, but Brooks mucks up the account so much with his nonlinear, repetitive, over-literary presentation that he ultimately fails to achieve his stated aim of making the Awat'ovi story relevant in a broader anthropological or sociological context.

Nonlinear narratives have a place in literature, but Brooks could have shed more light on Hopi history in a
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I was told by my Hopi guide on the Third Mesa that this book is “controversial” and not well-regarded by many Hopi. I can believe it since it appears the author never did any in-depth interviews with anyone Hopi, depending almost entirely on second-hand accounts and academic resources to write this. Nevertheless it was a well-written and, although limited, informative account. The author’s interpretation and conclusion of the events are questionable to my mind, especially as he doesn’t speak to ...more
Kevin Schroder
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book only for people who are interested in the details of SW indigenous cultures. The word "history" here can be misleading as the subject is more about the way in which the massacre is part of a recurring pattern of dramatic ends to communities in the Hopi Pueblo--both in ways bloody and in ways which are civil--and that these ends relate to a cultural template of cyclical degeneration, regeneration, and societal resilience produced via splitting and re-combining of populations. Each chapter ...more
Ike Rakiecki
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Centering on a series of 18th century events taking place at Awat'ovi, a once important Hopi locale which is now in ruin. The writer succeeded in tying together different aspects of Awat'ovi and the Hopi people, blending prehistory, history, current issues, archaeology, and anthropology.
Too all over the place, very dry, not enough information about the actual massacre despite the title. A real shame, since I was interested in a lot of the info in this book, but the way it was presented was abysmal for my tastes.
Steve Comstock
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, western
Fascinating subject, poor execution. Full of grammatical errors and repetitive, I was disappointed.
Could have been a good book. However the author only briefly talked about the event and most of the book was filled with symbology and meaning of myths and the way events are remembered.
Jenni V.
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own, signed-copy
The description of the book, both from reading the summary and listening to the author speak at a reading, didn't match what I actually read. It's not necessarily a bad thing but it was dryer than I expected after his engaging talk about his research and I didn't get the deeper layers of how this applies to the present day that he alluded to in the summary.

There were some typos which surprised me since he's a professor, especially with using "there" instead of "their" occasionally.

He mentioned
Darcia Helle
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I was looking forward to reading this book. I wish I could say that I loved it, but I really didn't, not at all. In fact, I had trouble slogging through the pages.

To start with, the subtitle - A History of the Awat'ovi Massacre - implies a narrow focus. That subtitle turns out to be misleading. I was surprised by how little attention the Awat'ovi Massacre received within these pages. This book turns into something more akin to a broad history of the Hopis. The events here span from well before
Sep 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Very interesting story of the massacre at Awat'ovi and the circumstances, myths, and legends that surround it. By and large, the narrative was crafted in a very compelling manner, shifting focus not only between the massacre and the events leading up to it, but also moving ahead in time to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as archeologists and anthropologists tried to make sense of what happened to the Awat'ovi village in 1700. The book draws upon a variety of sources, including ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An interesting book which traces the history of the decimation of a Hopi village in 1700. This incident is traced from its origins in the Hopi culture to the reverberations that have echoed down to the present time. Relying on Spanish texts from the period, archaeology and oral traditions of current Hopi tribesmen, the author seeks to find a reason why a village was wiped from existence by its neighboring villages, which were populated by relations of the inhabitants of the targeted village.

Troy Myers
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very detailed history of one event and perhaps why it occurred. Explores the Hopi and other Pueblo people's history. Gave me a greater understanding of this region and people in America. It was well researched and written.
Thomas Stama
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book on archeology of the Hopi's as well as this particular site.
You begin to understand the relationships between the Hopi and the Rio Grand Pueblo peoples and the other native Americans. Also you can begin to understand the Spanish intrusion.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
The story being told was interesting, but the way it was told was fairly aggravating. A history book that not only wasn't told in a linear fashion - more of a spiral - but that also didn't seem to really have a solid point
Feb 17, 2016 marked it as to-read
Library recall that I finally finished in May.
Eladia Rivera
IF you are really interested in Hopi history and archaeology this is an engaging book. If not, it may be too in depth for the average reader.
Apr 06, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, anthropology
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