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Book Review
11
American Plains Indians
The American Plains Indians
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by: Randy Harvey [ HARV ]


Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

HISTORY

** The central plains of North America to the east of the Rocky Mountains were home to the Plains Indians; here the hunting grounds of the twelve “typical” tribes coincided with the grazing range of the largest of the buffalo herds. The adoption of a horse culture heralded the golden age of the Plains Indians – an age abruptly ended by the intervention of the white man, who forced them into reservations in the second half of the 19th century. **

** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.


THE BOOK

Osprey Publications Ltd has released The American Plains Indians as Number 163 in their Men-at-Arms series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, black and white and color illustrations, and detailed captions. It has a 1985 copyright and the ISBN is 978-0-85045-608-0. As the title states, the book examines and discusses the American Plains Indians.


THE CONTENTS

Introduction

Community Structure and Camp Life
- The Tipi
- Camp Life

Hunting and the Horse
- Trade
- The Horse

War
- Weapons
- Warrior Societies
- War Costume

Religion, Ceremony and Medicine
- The Vision Quest
- The Sun Dance

Conquest
The Plates
Bibliography
Index


THE TEXT

The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Jason Hook covers the American Plains Indians very well. Anyone interested in American Plains Indians or just Native American history will find this book very informative and interesting. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the text other than the misspelling of the Native American tribe, Assiniboine. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.


THE PHOTOGRAPHS

There are a total of 29 black and white photographs shown throughout the book. Several of the photographs are of specific Native Americans such as Red Cloud, American Horse, He Dog, Wolf Robe and others as well as showing the clothing, dwellings, sewing and beadwork and other such items of the American Plains Indians in nice detail. The majority of the photographs are nice, clear, centered and focused images and are of a good quality considering the era in which they were taken. Considering that photography was still a fairly new science at the time the photographs were taken I was impressed with all of the photographs. I haven’t seen a majority of the featured photographs before, if not all of them, and I was pleased with this. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs as opposed to the same old over used photographs that many books tend to contain. The photographs will prove to be valuable to the scale figure modeler as well as anyone interested in Native American clothing and culture of the American Plains Indian tribes. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.


THE ILLUSTRATIONS

There are 7 plates of color illustrations by illustrator Richard Hook which covers various tribes of the American plains and they are very well done. There are brief captions that accompany the illustrations, except for Plate D, and well written and detailed larger captions that are located in the Plate Commentaries chapter. The illustrations will prove to be valuable to the scale figure modeler as well as anyone interested in Native American clothing American Plains Indian tribes.

The color illustrations are of the following:

Plate A
First half of 19th century:
1. Hidatsa ‘Dog-Soldier’
2. & 3. Assiniboin warriors

Plate B
Blackfoot:
1. Motokiks women’s society member
2. Blood warrior
3. Warrior in winter dress
4. Elder

Plate C
Blackfoot:
1. Mother with child
2. Grandmother
3. & 4. Minipoka

Plate D
Fight between Sioux and Crow warriors, mid- to late 19th century

Plate E
Arapaho:
1. White Woman
2. Ghost Dancer, 1890

Plate F
Kiowa and Comanche
1. Kiowa brave
2. Kiowa woman
3. Comanche brave
4. Comanche girl

Plate G
Little Bighorn, 25 June, 1876:
1. Cheyenne brave
2. Buffalo Calf Road Woman
3. Crow scout

There are also 8 black and white illustrations shown throughout the volume that also contain well written and detailed captions.

The black and white illustrations are of the following:
1. Exterior and interior of a tipi
2. Methods of beadwork
3. Methods of quillwork
4. The uses to which the buffalo carcass was put by the Plains tribes
5. The arrangement of the Cheyenne camp circle
6. Examples of Plains Indian shields
7. Examples of feather ‘heraldry’
8. Plains Indian pipes

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.


MAPS

There are 3 black and white maps provided. They are of:
- Map showing historic location of the Plains tribes
- Map showing distribution of the buffalo herds
- The main cultural divisions of the North American Indians

Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the quality of the maps for yourself.


THE INFORMATION CHARTS

There are no informational charts provided in this volume.


THE CAPTIONS

The captions that accompany the photographs are well written and are very detailed and provide very specific information in regards to the photograph or illustration that they accompany. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.


CONCLUSION

All in all I am impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains many nice illustrations, photographs and well detailed captions. Personally I would have liked to have seen more attention paid to the weaponry of the American Plains Indians. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library. The scale figure modeler as well as anyone interested in Native American clothing and culture of the American Plains Indians will find this volume a useful companion.


REFERENCES

Native American Clothing: An Illustrated History
Theodore Brasser
Firefly Books

Native American Hunting and Fighting Skills
Colin F. Taylor
The Lyons Press

Native American Weapons
Colin F. Taylor
The Lyons Press

The Indians
The Old West
Time/Life Books

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
An Indian History Of The American West
Dee Brown
Picador

Lakota Portraits
Lives Of The Legendary Plains People
Joseph Agonito
TwoDot

The Great Chiefs
The Old West
Time-Life Books

Warpath
The True Story of the Fighting Sioux
Told in a Biography of Chief White Bull
Stanley Vestal
Foreword by Raymond J. DeMallie
Bison Books


Search inside the book at the Osprey Publishing web site:

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/The-American-Plains-Indians_9780850456080

Look inside the book at the Amazon web site:

http://www.amazon.com/The-American-Plains-Indians-Men-at-Arms/dp/0850456088/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343518998&sr=8-1&keywords=osprey publishing The American Plains Indians
SUMMARY
Highs: Well written and detailed text and captions. Nice photographs and illustrations
Lows: Not enough attention paid to the American Plains Indians weaponry
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book that is well researched and details the American Plains Indians well.
Percentage Rating
94%
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-0-85045-608-0
  Suggested Retail: US $17.95 / $21.00 CAN
  Related Link: Book on Publisher's website
  PUBLISHED: Jul 29, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.62%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.22%

About Randy Harvey (HARV)
FROM: WYOMING, UNITED STATES

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2019 text by Randy Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.



   

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