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Book Reviews 141 amputated limbs, and maggot-filled wounds, and stench-filled corpses. Battlefield realities robbed the body of any religious or sacred symbolism. Laderman places these dramatic changes within a deeper cultural context. The emergence of a natural or scientific understanding of death, noticed by many other historians, is central to the analysis. As with so many other social and cultural trends, warfare quickened the pace of change that was underway in a slower and less dramatic manner beforehand. Bythe end of the war, the modern business of death had been established. The undertaker-or "modern death specialist"-monopolized the science of embalming. Women had been removed by this profession from their traditional role in preparing the body for burial. Funeral directors were the new priests presiding over the corpse. The clergy's attention had moved from concern about the "sacred remains'' to the state of the soul in the afterlife. The public wished to avoid the reality of bodily death. The undertaker, who capitalized on the changes rooted in the war, symbolizes the new culture of death in this study. Many of the most dramatic changes in the culture of death, such as embalming , allowed for the maintenance of the traditional rituals surrounding the preparation, transportation, viewing, and burial of the body. Despite the changing attitudes toward death, the basic structure, fundamental role, and essential meaning of the rituals of death remained largely intact. This persistence allowed those mourning loved ones as well asthe broader northern Protestant culture to cope with the sudden and premature death of so many young soldiers. Finally, this superbly nuanced book contains a section of poignant and haunting illustrations which reflect the main outlines of the analysis. David B. Marshall University of Calgary John William Sayer. Ghost Dancing the Law: The Wounded Knee Trials. Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1997. Pp. ix + 310. Mainstream America learned lessons in the late 1960s and early 1970s that certain segments of American society had been taught decades earlier. The civil rights movement, Vietnam, and the Watergate scandal showed U.S. government agencies and highly placed politicians and other officials would 142 Canadian Review of American Studies Revue canadienne detudes americaines lie, cheat, and otherwise bend the law to pursue political agendas. Lakotas had known this for nearly a century, having seen provisions of their 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie with the United States violated beginning in the 1870s. On 27 February 1973, to protest violations of the 1868 treaty and corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM)and Pine Ridge Reservation residents critical of the tribal council occupied the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of the infamous 1890 massacre of Lakota Ghost Dancers. The occupation initiated a seventy-one-day standoff with federal law enforcement officers, which produced 562 arrests and 185 federal indictments. One Oglala Lakota protester, comparing the protest to the 1890 religious movement, commented, "We're ghost dancing again" (232). John William Sayer, an Honorary Fellow at the Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School, drew upon that analogy for this book's title. Sayer argues the government used the Wounded Knee trials to distract, demoralize, bankrupt, and, ultimately, to try to destroy the American Indian Movement as aviable national social movement. He focuses overwhelmingly, however, on the trials of AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks. The defence team, led by the late William Kunstler, responded to the government 's criminal case by attacking the history of U.S. Indian policy, paying special attention to violations of the 1868 treaty, in an effort to expose the trial's political nature and to show the jury justification for the Wounded Knee occupation. Much asthe government violated the 1868 treaty and used questionable tactics in presenting its case, so the defence team bent established judicial rules and procedures to put the government and its Indian policy on trial. Outside the courtroom, the defence made a concerted effort to "spin" media coverage in its favour; to discredit the government's case, and to win the public's sympathy. Sayer begins the book by surveying Lakota history from roughly 1700 through the 1973...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 141-143
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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