In a very readable narrative . . . Stuart asserts a general theory of Chaco Canyon�a sophisticated culture that has perplexed archaeologists since its discovery . . . . Anasazi America draws a fascinating dichotomy between modern pueblos and modern America, which has failed to learn history's lessons.
Stuart cogently distinguishes between powerful societies, which gain power by using resources inefficiently, and efficient societies, which run frugally but sacrifice wealth and power to do so. The latter societies, he argues, are more resilient when environmental changes or other challenges appear.
Utah Historical Quarterly
David Stuart . . . has made the findings of archaeology directly "relevant" to weighty, modern social and political issues. . . . [This] tale is structured around an interesting model that contrasts power and efficiency as alternative strategies for cultural survival. . . . Stuart's clear and straightforward prose is written to a popular audience, largely free of the technical and philosophical jargon that often suffocates archaeological and anthropological literature.
Denver Westerner's Roundup
In this readable narrative . . . Stuart very effectively deals with the question, then, of why the collapse? . . . this work has an urgent appeal to anyone of us interested in the future of contemporary industrial society . . .
Journal of Anthropological Research
Stuart's message is timely and important, and there is undoubtedly a large public appetite for a book of this scope and accesibility.
Stuart's book presents fresh insights and arguments that will spur debate, particularly within the already contentious field of Chaco scholarship. . . Anasazi America still succeeds in melding an often opaque past into our own often disquieting present.
At the height of their power in the late 11th Century, the Chaco Anasazi dominated a territory in the American Southwest that was larger than any European nation at the time. The Anasazi enjoyed a vast and powerful alliance of thousands of farming hamlets and nearly one hundred major towns integrated through economic and religious ties, with the whole system being interconnected with hundreds of miles of roads. It took the Anasazi more than seven centuries to lay the agricultural, organizational, and technological groundwork for the creation of classic Chacoan civilization. Only to have it last a mere two hundred years and completely collapse in 40 years. Anasazi America explains what such a great society collapsed, who survived the collapse, how they survived, and what useful lessons modern societies can draw from the Anasazi experience. Anasazi America is a superb written contribution to Native American studies and reading lists.