The Great Mystery: Myths of Native America

The Great Mystery: Myths of Native America

by Neil Philip
     
 


This authoritative guide to Native American myth and legend explores the powerful themes and dramatic stories that explain the great mysteries of life, death, how the world was created, and how it will end. A description of the nature of Native American myths, examining the common themes found in the rich mythology of the First Nations, is followed by chapters on… See more details below

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Overview


This authoritative guide to Native American myth and legend explores the powerful themes and dramatic stories that explain the great mysteries of life, death, how the world was created, and how it will end. A description of the nature of Native American myths, examining the common themes found in the rich mythology of the First Nations, is followed by chapters on main culture groups that include numerous excerpts from the myths themselves, many of them humorous. Folklorist Neil Philip has created an enthralling and multilayered book, handsomely illustrated with photographs printed in duotone, that will be treasured by anyone intrigued by Native American culture or mythology.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This exhaustively researched book explores the similarities and differences among the tales told by various Native American culturual groups about the creation of the world.
School Library Journal
Children's Literature
This is not merely the retelling of the myths of Native Americans; it is an explanation and an exploration of the underlying themes, along with the similarities and differences of the many tales. In an introductory chapter the author points out that "Myths are not fixed truths but flexible representations of the truth," changing with the times and the inclinations of the storytellers. Each subsequent chapter of the book covers a geographical area such as the Northeast, The Plains and The Arctic. The elements provide the basis for many of the myths and various versions are explored. One particularly interesting Menomini story is about a ball game that was the precursor of lacrosse, and a sidebar points out that among some of the people, play was often violent and "play a ball game" sometimes meant "fight a battle." The book is generously illustrated with fascinating historical photographs, some taken more than 130 years ago, and an extensive bibliography is included. An interesting and informative book for the young student. 2001, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin, $25.00. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This exhaustively researched book explores the similarities and differences among the tales told by various Native American cultural groups about the creation of the world, life, and death. Following an introductory chapter that describes the importance of lore and myths to our understanding of a cultural group, the text is organized by region. Within each area, the relationships among the tales of specific groups are discussed as well as the basic themes present in the stories of other peoples outside this area. Surprisingly, considering Philip's other work, the dry text reads more like a research report than an engaging narrative. Some of the retellings incorporated into it as illustrative examples reflect the work of an excellent storyteller while others lack this spark. Numerous sepia-toned archival photographs that loosely relate to the material discussed are found throughout the book. Their substantial captions contain a great deal of additional, explanatory material along with information on the source of the photograph, photographer, and date. The extensive bibliography is organized by geographical area. While not a title for students interested in leisure reading, it is a worthy book that will support research on Native American folklore.-Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395984055
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/17/2001
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
7.76(w) x 10.34(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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