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Reviews 149 which describe the geography, cities, and, most importantly, the people of the American frontier. He capitalized on the fascination with which the European regards the Indian by closing nearly every letter (chapter) with the warning that this may be his last day on earth if his party meets a warring band of Indians. This “strong scene” technique of ending each chapter is reminiscent of the serialized novel form, and, if current European interest in the Western American Indian is any indication, the French must have begun each chapter with great anticipation. Simonin commented briefly upon Mormons, “those happy polygamists”; Indians, “the children of the desert”; American genius, which built a railroad to attract people westward; suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who “has overlooked nothing to arrive at her goal”; and the great American system based upon “freedom and work.” He wrestles with the “American Desert” myth and compromises throughout the book by calling the western flatlands the “desert” in one paragraph and the "prairie” in the next. Simonin makes the astute observation that when the buffalo disappears so will the Indian— “the primitive man with the primitive animal.” Yet, despite these acute comments, there is nothing new either in fact or interpretation to be gleaned from the book. The student of mining history will find nothing of value in the engineer’s notations, and important chapters concerning Indian-United States relations have previously been published by the translator. The illustrations are of some value in explicating the text but certainly they are shown to disadvantage by being collected in the center of the book. The translator’s annotations are brief and consist primarily of correcting Simonin’s inaccuracies and of identifying places and persons noted in the narrative. One can admire, however, the perception with which the cultured European writer viewed America’s crude frontier. By assuming the point of view of the history-conscious Frenchman, one gains renewed insight into the haste, excitement, and recklessness of boom-time frontier America. R o n a ld W. T a b er , Washington State University They Sang for Horses: The Impact of the Horse on Navajo and Apache Folklore. By LaVerne Harrell Clark. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1966. xxii -f 225 pages, $12.00.) They Sang for Horses is a fine book for the dedicated folklorist, who, one 150 Western American Literature may assume, would never tire of the detail so abundantly provided by this study. He would learn, to begin with, how easily the horse seems to have wedged his way into the company of ancient Indian deities, becoming an integral part of the Navajo-Apache folk traditions almost as rapidly as he had become an indispensable part of the way of life of these Indian peoples after the arrival of the Spaniard. Navajo and Apache groups all have myths telling how the horse was created for their own people by a culture hero or a god. And it is clear that the gods had horses before the humans did, though how the gods got the horses themselves is not so clear. The commonest myth concerning the creation of the horse is that the sun deity made horses to use above. The widespread appearance of this myth and its rapid assimilation into the folklore structure is indicative of the force of the impact which the advent of this creature made upon individual and tribal life. Evidences such as these of the influence of the horse upon NavajoApache ways of thinking and believing are perhaps of intrinsic interest to the lay reader as well as to the folklore specialist. For the lay reader, no doubt, grew up listening to tales about the wizardry of Indian horsemen, the phantom riders of the desert. But it is likely that the lay reader’s powers of attention might be overtaxed as he gets involved in long discussions of, for example, the color of Sun’s horse. According to White Mountain Apache legends the color is black, and “because they associate it with the sun, the majority of the Apache groups most often place black in the east where it occurs first in their color circuits. . . . The Navajo, on the other hand, usually...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 149-151
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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