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AMERICAN INDIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) Paperback – August 12, 1985


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AMERICAN INDIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) + The Norse Myths (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
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Product Details

  • Series: Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library
  • Paperback: 527 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (August 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394740181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394740188
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“We have nothing more universal than our folk myths, and in this book Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz have brought together what is probably the most comprehensive and diverse collection of American Indian Legends ever compiled. It is a worthy and welcomed addition to the literature of our native peoples”
—Dee Brown
 
“This fine, valuable new gathering of Turtle Island tales is truly alive, mysterious, and wonderful—overflowing, that is, with wonder, mystery and life.”
—Peter Matthiessen

From the Inside Flap

Gathering 160 tales from 80 tribal groups to offer a rich and lively panarama of the Native American mythic heritage. 100 drawings.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 37 customer reviews
Or maybe you just enjoy reading good stories for yourselves and for your children.
redwood
Lots of entertaining stories but if you are looking for a book to read to children I would look elsewhere as many of the stories contain very adult material.
iceangel13
Stories from tribes across the North American continent show both the divergent philsophies, as well as the common ground.
timsales@foodpix.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By timsales@foodpix.com on April 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
This excellent collection of myths and legends in the "oral history" style - either from the mouths of storytellers, or from documents where their words were first captured - presents a wonderful insight into the American Indian spiritual philosophy. The book is neatly organized into chapters from the genesis of the planet and people, through myths and legends emphasizing the social structure, to love stories, warrior myths and on to the final death and afterlife stories. Stories from tribes across the North American continent show both the divergent philsophies, as well as the common ground. The editors have wonderfully resisted any urge to edit these stories. Each chapter opens with an overview provided by Erdoes and Ortiz. There are occasional editorial explanations at the ends of stories. They should expecially be applauded for including stories with humor. As someone with Indian ancestry, but not a traditional Indian upbringing, I enjoyed the experience of spiritual concordance with the basic philosophies, no matter which tribe or region of the country was being presented. The book is easily readable by most age groups; parents of younger children could read these as entertainment and even bed-tiime stories. I consider this akin to a Bible of American Indian spirituality.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
"American Indian Myths and Legends" is a collection of 166 stories selected and edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz that represent the heart and soul of the native people of North America. In contrast to the more familiar classical myths of ancient Greece and Roman, the genesis for these stories is much more organic, rising from the animals, plants and herb that made up the every day world of the people who told these tales. These tales also reflect the diversity of the peoples group under the name of American Indians, from the Seneca and Alconquian of the East to the White Mountain Apache and Navajo of the Southwest to the Brule Sioux and Nez Perce of the Plains.
Using an admittedly artificial system of organization, Erdoes and Ortiz present ten sections: (1) Tales of Human Creation; (2) Tales of World Creation; (3) The Eye of the Great Spirit; (4) Monsters and Monster Slayers; (5) War and the Warrior Code; (6) Tales of Love and Lust; (7) Trickster Tales; (8) Stories of Animals and Other People; (9) Ghosts and the Spirit World; and (10) Visions of the End. I have been reading my copy again to consider its inclusion in a Contemporary Mythology class I am toying with teaching, and it certainly offers students an impressive collection of myths and legends in fairly pure form. There is some commentary, but the point here is not to analyze the stories but to preserve them and present them to new readers.
However, teachers at any level who are studying myths can certainly find stories that can be used to create fascinating comparison/contrasts with tales on similar subjects from classical, Celtic, Hindu, African, or any other mythology they can get their hands on for class.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Zekeriyah VINE VOICE on December 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz really did a wonderful job putting together this compilation. Taking various stories from North America, the duo covers traditional tales of everyone from the Aleut to the Toltecs and pretty much everything in between. Every region and culture group is represented, and tales from well known Nations such as the Cherokee, Lakota, Dine (Navajo), Apache and Iroquois appear beside those of less well known (but no less vibrant and culturally active) Nations such as the Miwok, Caddo, Metis and Shasta. Hopefully this will help expand people's views of Native American culture. After all, stereotypical views of "Indians" rarely include the Nations of California or the Pacific Northwest, or even the Southern Woodlands (the original homeland of the Cherokee and their neighbors). Obviously not every Nation could be represented, but this is still an excellent survey of the continent. It does a wonderful job showing how common cultural themes have woven their way across this entire continent, helping to reinforce the culture and customs of the First Nations. And at the same time, it also shows how each culture was different, having its own beliefs, customs and practices unique to themselves.
Each chapter was divided into a different theme, so the book covers the Creation of People, the Creation of the World, Stories about Celestial Bodies, Monsters, War Heroes, Love, Tricksters, Animal People, Ghosts and the End of the World. Hence the book goes full circle in exploring major themes in North American belief. Each chapter includes the stories of numerous Nations from different regions, linguistic families or "cultural groupings", allowing the reader to see them in a much broader light.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a marvelous collection; however, some of the stories, while extremely humorous, are "X" rated - so if you read them as bedtime stories to your kids, be sure you're familiar with the content!
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