Childs investigates the greatest "unsolved mystery" of the American Southwest. The Anasazi, the native peoples who by the 11th century converged on Chaco Canyon (now New Mexico), built a flourishing cultural center. By the 13th century, the Anasazi were gone from Chaco. What happened?Childs investigates the greatest "unsolved mystery" of the American Southwest. The Anasazi, the native peoples who by the 11th century converged on Chaco Canyon (now New Mexico), built a flourishing cultural center. By the 13th century, the Anasazi were gone from Chaco. What happened?Read Less
good book for someone wanting to know about the ruins of the southwest. Lots of energy.
Apr 5, 2012
We have only been to Chaco Canyon once- back in the late 60's, but I have been fascinated with Native American culture ever since. This book is spellbinding- it tells of the author's search for long lost Pueblo sites in the canyons of New Mexico and the effect of long-term drought on the natives of the southwest.
Aug 23, 2007
Finally, a synthesis of info on the Anasazi
Tying together ruins in remote Sonora and Chihuahua with well known US National Parks, mixing interviews with archeologists and family adventures on the road, dredging information from obscure reports, Childs creates a fascinating explanation of the comings and goings of early Native people in the Southwest. Definitely a good read for anyone who has stumbled upon a granary hidden under a ledge and wondered- who built this? Leaves many unanswered questions. Definitely NOT a guide book to sites and no maps. Like Childs' other books but with a lot more background and less personal adventure, but with plenty of stories about hiking in unusual places (here often with wife and baby) or just talking to local characters to keep the tale interesting. Huge bibliography for those who want more.
May 8, 2007
Both Good and Bad
I have ambivalent feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love his style of writing! He has a real flair for imbuing his writing with the feel of a place! His descriptions are great- I loved where he was talking about the mechanical pumps used in the natural gas fields. He said something like they were "old men stooping to scoop a coin from the sidewalk". His writing is similar to that found in some novels, with lots of description.. Unfortunately, if he has the choice between a dramatic statement and an accurate statement, he will go for drama every time! My negative feelings come from my impression that he is a bit blase' about the facts. For the area I KNOW, I found several mistakes. Not huge mistakes, just a bit skewed. Therefore, I don't really trust his facts in the rest of the book. I also know several of the people he describes in the book. I did find some of his descriptions rather amusing! However, I am concerned that he is putting words in their mouths. The jist of his quote is fairly good, but my impression is that he has changed it a bit to make the story more interesting. I was totally horrified at his story about JUMPING into a flash flood!!!! It was a foolhardy thing to do! I am afraid someone will read this and someday copy his action! His "grand adventure" attitude toward this gave me cold chills! He needs to learn patience & wait for the flood to subside! So- my feeling is that this is semi-fictionalized "non-fiction"
Would I recommend this book? I said "No" because I have reservations about the accuracy. However, if you want enjoyable reading and to get a feel for the country and you promise to go elsewhere for your facts, then I would say "Yes". I enjoyed reading it- although the men on my staff thought it was a bit overboard with flamboyance.
May 7, 2007
Craig Childs has done all the things that we who love the Southwest would dream of doing in his quest to find his place in the landscape while testing theories and ideas about ancient civilizations and their migration paths. He has discovered old Anasazi ruins, untouched for centuries. He has seen cherished pieces of pottery, sandals, and baskets in the shelters and on the trails where they were used. He has walked in the footsteps of the Old Ones and immersed himself in where they lived. Most importantly, he has made some of these wonderful journeys with his wife.
Childs?s quest and writing excites readers with the sense of discovery and awe of a true explorer. He embodies and conveys a strong ethic in his explorations: he doesn?t steal the artifacts, he leaves them as they lay -- setting a higher ethical standard than most museums and past/present archeologists in his respect for the indigenous peoples, their way of life, and those who follow.
Unfortunately some Ivory Tower archeologists dispute and contest some of the things and places he has ventured. That I consider a political problem among archeologists.
Child?s writing is creative, innovative and exciting -- and a reader really does walk in his shoes and see what he sees because of his original and descriptive prose. Get this book and enjoy some truly great writing. In fact, I recommend any book by Craig Childs. Read one and you will want to be a partner in all his adventures.
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