Friday, October 4, 2013

Mini-Reviews: More Nonfiction

Same as the last batch of mini-reviews: books that I have read in connection with class assignments.

Memories & Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost Golden Age by Richard Heinberg (1985/2007)
For starters, this is from a theosophical publisher, so I kind of took everything with a grain of salt. I thought some of his anthropological arguments stunk of romanticism and not-so-great scholarship, in particular. The comparative folklore parts were interesting but got old after a while. Heinberg did have some fascinating things to say, though, so it's worth a read if the subject catches your interest. 3 1/2 stars

A New Order of Things: Property, Power, and the Transformation of the Creek Indians, 1733-1816 by Claudio Saunt (1999)
This started out super-strong, with very meticulous research and good lengths for chapters (I'm reading most nonfiction books at a rate of a chapter per day, so yes, this is important, and it also relates to the issue of too little vs. too much information). By the end, though, I was flagging. It seemed like the author wasn't doing quite as much with the last chapters and giving as complete a picture as could have been possible. 4 stars

Pendejo Cave ed. by Richard S. MacNeish and Jane G. Libby (2003)
Pendejo Cave is an archaeological site in New Mexico that claims to have pre-Clovis evidence of Paleoamericans going back tens of thousands of years, which makes it pretty controversial. This book, published by Univ. of New Mexico Press, is basically a 500-page site and analysis report. As such, I found it extremely technical - this is one you read if you're seriously researching the subject, not just because you think Southwestern archaeology is fun.

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