HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

In the Hands of the Great Spirit (2003)

by Jake Page

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2512104,891 (4.03)11
The story of the American Indians has, until now, been told as a 500-year tragedy, a story of violent and fatal encounters with Europeans and their diseases, followed by steady retreat, defeat, and diminishment. Yet the true story begins much earlier, and its final recent chapter adds a major twist. Jake Page, one of the Southwest's most distinguished writers and a longtime student of Indian history and culture, tells a radically new story, thanks to an explosion of recent archaeological findings, the latest scholarship, and an exploration of Indian legends. Covering no less than 20,000 years, In the hands of the Great Spirit will forever change how we think about the oldest and earliest Americans. Page explores every controversy, from the question of cannibalism among tribes, to the various theories of when and how humans first arrived on the continent, to what life was actually like for Indians before the Europeans came. Page dispels the popular image of a peaceful and idyllic Eden, and shows that Indian societies were fluid, constantly transformed by intertribal fighting, population growth, and shifting climates. Page uses Indian legends and stories as tools to uncover tribal origins, cultural values, and the meaning of certain rituals and sacred lands. He tells the story of contact with Europeans, and the multipower conflicts of the Seven Years War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812, from the Indians' point of view. He explains the complex and shifting role of the U.S. government as expressed through executive decisions and through the role of the courts. Finally, he tells the fascinating story of the late-twentieth-century upsurge in Indian population and resources, which began as a social movement and exploded once casinos came into fashion.… (more)
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 11 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
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. ( )
  Amarj33t_5ingh | Jul 8, 2022 |
Separating fact from fiction in an unbiased manner when it comes to the history of America’s native populations is a nearly impossible task. In the Hands of the Great Spirit, Jake Page, has tried to give a dispassionate overview of Native American history of the United States from the earliest migrations from Asia to the early parts of the 21st century. Page doesn’t’ apology for the more egregious acts of the European settlers or later the American’s pushing American Indians from the lands promised to them through treaties. Nor does demean the American Indians culture to the point of caricature to make a political statement. Page does a very good job of presenting the events of history as the happened without judgment, letting the reader decide for themselves whether or not the outcome was just. Considering how contentious the interactions of the Native American and the people wishing to exploit their resources have been in the past, it is really admirable to attempt to remain in the middle of the road. At the same time Page paints the American Indian culture as being far more complex and less homogenous then is often portrayed. American Indians were not and are not passive inhabitants of the land. They exploited the resources available to them, used and fought with other tribes and communities to their advantage, and modified their ways of life readily to deal with the changing times. Tribal life may have afforded them a different understanding of property and ownership, but they were in no way less sophisticated than their European counterparts. Their struggles and victories are well documented in this single volume work. Certainly there are more detailed accounts available but they would be hard pressed in presenting a fairer overview than In the Hands of the Great Spirit.

My one and only grip about the book is the last chapter, where Page attempts to cover some of the current events and possible political future of the American Indians. This is the worst thing a well written historic account can do. Any predications based on current information of human behavior are bound to be wrong. In this case they weren’t too far off, but only scratched the surface of the issues faced by American Indians. Page even acknowledges the flaws of such a chapter, but goes ahead and throws in his own predictions. These sort of chapters should be left out. ( )
2 vote stretch | Jan 6, 2015 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jake Pageprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harris, KarolinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kindersley, DorisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lai, Chin-YeeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

The story of the American Indians has, until now, been told as a 500-year tragedy, a story of violent and fatal encounters with Europeans and their diseases, followed by steady retreat, defeat, and diminishment. Yet the true story begins much earlier, and its final recent chapter adds a major twist. Jake Page, one of the Southwest's most distinguished writers and a longtime student of Indian history and culture, tells a radically new story, thanks to an explosion of recent archaeological findings, the latest scholarship, and an exploration of Indian legends. Covering no less than 20,000 years, In the hands of the Great Spirit will forever change how we think about the oldest and earliest Americans. Page explores every controversy, from the question of cannibalism among tribes, to the various theories of when and how humans first arrived on the continent, to what life was actually like for Indians before the Europeans came. Page dispels the popular image of a peaceful and idyllic Eden, and shows that Indian societies were fluid, constantly transformed by intertribal fighting, population growth, and shifting climates. Page uses Indian legends and stories as tools to uncover tribal origins, cultural values, and the meaning of certain rituals and sacred lands. He tells the story of contact with Europeans, and the multipower conflicts of the Seven Years War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812, from the Indians' point of view. He explains the complex and shifting role of the U.S. government as expressed through executive decisions and through the role of the courts. Finally, he tells the fascinating story of the late-twentieth-century upsurge in Indian population and resources, which began as a social movement and exploded once casinos came into fashion.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.03)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 2
3.5 1
4 13
4.5
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 201,849,389 books! | Top bar: Always visible