June 23, 2006

Review of Trail of the Spanish Bit

The Trail of the Spanish BitAnyone who has held an antique in hand and felt the magnetic pull of the history of the object will enjoy this book. I had not previously been a student of Native American history or a fan of the Western book genre, but Coldsmith succeeds in creating characters to whom I could relate as fellow human beings. The device of linking past to present through the Spanish bit is ingenious.Comment:  This book presents a great portrait of a generic Southern Plains tribe. All the Indians are three-dimensional individuals: realistic, down-to-earth, sometimes harsh or contrary.

Reflecting this, they don't have names like Soaring Eagle, Growling Bear, Pretty Flower, or Gentle Fawn. Instead, their names include Many Robes, Hump Ribs, Big Footed Woman, and Tall One.

About the only thing I object to is that the white man, Garcia, was instrumental in creating the Plains horse culture. I'm sure the Indians could have figured and did figure it out themselves.

Rob's rating:  8.0 of 10.

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