The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977 Page: 343

Book Reviews

ment of status among the Plains Indians through warfare and horse raid-
ing is given superficial treatment. Haines seems to have little insight into
the importance of the Sun Dance in maintaining social and spiritual co-
hesion within the tribe. As the author indicates the Office of Indian Af-
fairs prohibited the Sun Dance in i904 (it had been prohibited nearly
every year before that since the I88os), But Haines is misleading in sug-
gesting that the Sun Dance was not performed after 1904 until it re-
ceived official sanction in 1935.
Nevertheless, the book is not without merit. Haines writes clearly and
with verve. The early chapters on migration patterns on the Plains and
the accompanying maps provide a useful summary of complex movements.
Haines dwells, as many have before, on the diversity of Plans Indian
culture. The book was written for a mass audience and the viewers of
John Wayne reruns may find it enlightening.
Montana State University THOMAS R. WESSEL
Death Song. By John Edward Weems. (Garden City, New York: Double-
day & Company, Inc., 1976. Pp. xxii+ 311. Illustrations, notes, biblio-
graphy, index. $10.95.)
Death Song is a mediocre old wine in new bottles. The general subject
is the Indian wars from the Civil War until the Indians were forced to
accept reservation life. Although this topic has been discussed in countless
previous books, Weems utilizes a somewhat different approach. His nar-
rative centers on the careers of seven participants in the Indian-white
conflicts-John G. Bourke, Robert Goldthwaite Carter, Elizabeth Custer,
George Armstrong Custer, Geronimo, Quanah Parker, and White Bear
(or Satanta). In a sense Death Song is more a collective biography than
a comprehensive study of the Indians' final subjugation.
Weem's book embodies both the strengths and weaknesses of popular
history. He provides an entertaining account of his biographical figures
which focuses on the more dramatic encounters between Indians and
whites. The same writing skills allow the author to give life and color to
his narrative. In short, Weems has written an interesting book which will
find favor with general readers of western history.
Unfortunately, Death Song has many of the flaws common to the genre.
The figures treated, with the exception of Robert Goldthwaite Carter,
have been dealt with by numerous other writers, often in greater detail.
Weems's research is mainly from secondary sources, and his book thus re-
peats the same dramatic episodes, colorful anecdotes, and humorous stories


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977, periodical, 1976/1977; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.

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