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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952

Book Reviews

Sun in the Sky: The Hopi Indians of the Arizona Mesa Lands.
By Walter Collins O'Kane. Norman (University of Okla-
homa Press), 1950. Pp. xvii+261. Appendix, illustrations,
and index. $4.00.
Culture in Crisis: A Study of the Hopi Indians. By Laura Thomp-
son. With an introduction by John Collier. New York
(Harper and Brothers), 1950. Pp. xxiv+22l. Illustrations
and index. $4.00.
Comparisons, the old saw has it, are odious; when, however,
two books having exactly the same subject of inquiry come to the
reviewer's desk simultaneously, he feels justified in braving an
epigram. He is further inclined to the comparative approach by
the fact that each book gives a sharp insight into the life of the
Hopi, though the methods of attack are poles apart. Neither will
suffer by parallel examination, but each, worthwhile in its own
right, will gain cogency through the complementary relationship.
An illustration of this mutual helpfulness may be found in com-
paring the maps presented in the two volumes. Culture in Crisis
presents a map of all Hopiland (p. 4) showing the relative
position of the three mesas; Sun in the Sky gives a panoramic
detail of each mesa (pp. 14-15).
Taken individually, Sun in the Sky cannot be classified cate-
gorically, for it is neither history, anthropology, nor sociology,
although it is indebted to each discipline in its approach. Per-
haps it may well be called a personal and intimate picture of
the Hopi by one who wishes to make the life of his friends clear
to the general reader. Walter O'Kane, the author, is an ento-
mologist by profession who became acquainted with the Hopi
ten years ago during a chance visit to Poli Payestewa, one of the
patriarchs of the tribe, and found the folk so interesting that he
has returned again and again to their villages perched high on
the Three Mesas of northeastern Arizona. From his association
with the "peaceful ones"-as their name means literally-he has
gained an insight into their primitive culture which may accept
the white man's techniques but has not given up its spiritual
heritage. For though the Hopi may wear an alien dress and sub-
stitute an iron stove for his clay oven he still retains his mask
and ritual symbolic of his soul.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/. Accessed September 30, 2014.