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At the Desert's Green Edge: An Ethnobotany of the Gila River Pima Hardcover – November 1, 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Winner of the Society for Economic Botany’s Klinger Book Award

"Sets a new standard for ethnobotanical research." —American Anthropologist

"Phenomenal . . . every person interested in American people and plants should use this book." —Economic Botany

"The finest ethnobotanical book available . . . [a] masterpiece." —Human Mosaic

From the Inside Flap

The Akimel O'odham, or Pima Indians, of the northern Sonoran Desert continue to make their home along Arizona's Gila River despite the alarming degradation of their habitat that has occurred over the past century. The oldest living Pimas can recall a lush riparian ecosystem and still recite more than two hundred names for plants in their environment, but they are the last generation who grew up subsisting on cultivated native crops or wild-foraged plants. Ethnobiologist Amadeo M. Rea has written the first complete ethnobotany of the Gila River Pima and has done so from the perspective of the Pimas themselves. "At the Desert's Green Edge" weaves the Pima view of the plants found in their environment with memories of their own history and culture, creating a monumental testament to their traditions and way of life. Rea first discusses the Piman people, environment, and language, then proceeds to share their botanical knowledge in entries for 240 plants that systematically cover information on economic botany, folk taxonomy, and linguistics. The entries are organized according to Pima life-form categories such as plants growing in water, eaten greens, and planted fruit trees. All are anecdotal, conveying the author's long personal involvement with the Pimas, whether teaching in their schools or learning from them in conversations and interviews. "At the Desert's Green Edge" is an archive of otherwise unavailable plant lore that will become a benchmark for botanists and anthropologists. Enhanced by more than one hundred brush paintings of plants, it is written to be equally useful to nonspecialists so that the Pimas themselves can turn to it as a resource regarding their former lifeways.More than an encyclopedia of facts, it is the Pimas' own story, a witness to a changing way of life in the Sonoran Desert.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 459 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816515409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816515400
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,354,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great book to have around for drought resistant plants and how to grow. I was uncertain about some yucca elata seeds I purchased which had grown and I identified them as the real deal. If I could have a second career this would be it
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Format: Hardcover
I just want to let people know that At the Desert's Green Edge was awarded the Klinger Book Award by the Society for Economic Botany. This is according to an announcement in the members' publication for the San Diego Natural History Museum, where Dr. Rea is a research associate.
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Format: Hardcover
Certainly this book is "about" the following: Pima Indians Ethnobotany Gila River Valley (N.M. and Ar Native American Anthropology Nature / Field Guide Books Science Botany Native American Studies - Tribes Plants...
...but it is really a glowing absorption of the essences of life as only those who still live in what's left of this earth's eden can truly and fully know. Rea perhaps brings this through to the reader better than any writer, poet, or other artist in history. This book is not just a "gem" or some other catchy adjective from the "How to Review a Book" manual--it is a true treasure, a legacy more valuable to the priceless "things" of life than all the dusty gold from King Tut's tomb. It is a ocean of pearls cast before the multitudes, hoping, perhaps, to snare a fertile, vigorous mind or two... You will laugh deeply. You will cry unrepentantly. You will revel in the invigorating joy of discovery. No matter who you are or how you make your way in this world, the spirit of this book will touch that secret something in you that you thought you would never find anywhere else...
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