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Jake Page (1936–2016)

Author of In the Hands of the Great Spirit

46+ Works 2,363 Members 28 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Jake Page was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 24, 1936. He received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1958 and a master's degree from the Graduate Institute of Book Publishing at New York University in 1960. He worked for Doubleday as an editor of Anchor Books. In 1962, he show more was put in charge of Natural History Press, which also gave him responsibility for Natural History magazine. He eventually took the job of science content editor for Smithsonian magazine. He also wrote a monthly science column for the magazine entitled Phenomena, Comment and Notes. His columns for Smithsonian and Science were collected in Pastorale: A Natural History of Sorts and Songs to Birds. He wrote dozens of books on the wonders of science including earthquakes, dinosaurs, arctic exploration, zoos, and the languages of cats and dogs. He then turned his attention to the Indians of the American Southwest. He retired from Smithsonian magazine in the late 1970s to help photographer Susanne Anderson on a book documenting the Hopi tribe. Hopi was published in 1982 and followed by Navajo in 1995. His other books include Lords of the Air: The Smithsonian Book of Birds written with Eugene S. Morton, The Big One: The Earthquake That Rocked Early America and Helped Create a Science written with Charles B. Officer, The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology's Greatest Mystery written with J. M. Adovasio, In the Hands of the Great Spirit: The 20,000-Year History of American Indians, and Uprising: The Pueblo Indians and the First American War for Religious Freedom. He also wrote five mystery novels including The Stolen Gods and The Lethal Partner. He died from vascular disease on February 10, 2016 at the age of 80. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: PAGE JAKE

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Works by Jake Page

Forest (1983) 109 copies
Arid Lands (1984) 97 copies
The Stolen Gods (1993) 76 copies
Hopi (1982) 72 copies
The Deadly Canyon (1993) 55 copies
Dogs: A Natural History (2007) 55 copies
SMITHSONIAN NEW ZOO (1990) 54 copies
Apacheria (1711) 40 copies
The Knotted Strings (1995) 39 copies
Lethal Partner (1996) 37 copies
A Certain Malice (1998) 30 copies
Operation Shatterhand (1996) 23 copies
Songs to Birds (1993) 21 copies
Cavern (2000) 13 copies
Shoot the Moon (1979) 4 copies

Associated Works


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Page, Jake
Other names
Page, James Keena, Jr. (birth name)
Date of death
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Place of death
Lyons, Colorado, USA
Places of residence
Corrales, New Mexico, USA
Princeton University (BA|1958)
New York University (MA|1960)
magazine editor
Morton, Eugene S.
Officer, Charles B. (co-author)
Adovasio, J. M. (co-author)
Page, Susanne (wife)
Short biography
James Keena "Jake" Page, Jr. was the founding editor of Doubleday's Natural History Press, as well as editorial director of Natural History magazine and science editor of Smithsonian magazine. He has written more than forty books on the natural sciences, zoological topics, and Native American affairs, as well as mystery fiction.



In the Hands of the Great Spirit was my first comprehensive introduction to the Native American peoples. It was love at first sight.

Page traces the history of the early humans who settled the American continent in Prehistory; their cultural, religious and societal development and their proliferation across North America. The latter forms the backbone of his narrative as he charts the tragic interaction of these indigenous peoples with the Occident and what subsequently transpired.

One can easily see that compressing the most essential of historical points in a 480 page compendium is bound to have its own recurring challenges. While Page treads already broken ground-Geronimo, Sitting Bull etc-he also explores lesser known figures such as Joseph Medicine Crow and the Pueblo Pope.

The most conspicuous element of In the Hands of the Great Spirit besides its scope is the fluidity of its prose. It is comprehensible for expert and lay alike owing to its avoidance of heavy jargon and this makes it a page turner given that Page narrates rather than relates; something which involves the reader in a mental learning process rather than constantly depending on the author's own perceptions (we forget that Page is the narrator here after all given the value of what he narrates).

Overall, in the grand scheme of things, Page makes no secret of the fact that the history of any society can only be effectively explored through the history of its great men and women. He is a Carlylean in this sense, selecting to focus on the leaders of various Native American peoples and their achievements/failures to chart the fate of subsequent generations rather than kowtowing to the post-structuralist line of contemporary factors and contemporary factors alone influencing a people and history being the study of these factors .

This is an invaluable piece of literature and should grace the bookshelves of all amateur and expert historians alike.
… (more)
Amarj33t_5ingh | 1 other review | Jul 8, 2022 |
This series is informative, with excellent, often spectacular, photography.
Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Good overall listing. Nothing in great depth --- but I really liked one observation: Page 47. It should be emphasized at this stage in our biography that archeological evidence suggests that by the time of the flowering of the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt in the third millennium B.C.E., Goddess had had the preeminence of what we now think of as God for at least some 25,000 years in most parts of the wold. The Mal-oriented view that eventually achieved supremacy can claim only some 5,000 years of history.… (more)
melsbks | 2 other reviews | Jan 6, 2019 |


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