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House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest Paperback – Illustrated, July 3, 2008
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.01 pounds
- Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316067547
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316067546
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.38 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Back Bay Books (July 3, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #69,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Many of the author's adventures in the back country were used in the book to introduce a new facet into the study of the Anasazi, and these passages in particular were poetically written. Child's descriptions of the harsh Southwestern landscapes provided more context into the lives and mindsets of his subjects, which I especially enjoyed.
One complaint I had, and it is a minor one, is that Child's repeatedly referenced various types of Anasazi pottery, using it as a way to track the movements of the ancient populations. I had difficulty telling all this similarly idea river pottery apart. A mini-fieldguide might have been helpful.
I recommend this book to those interested in the history of the Anasazi, aspiring archaeologists, and those enthralled by the cliff dwellings like Chaco and Mesa Verde.
The vast majority of this work consists of an over dramatized account of the author's hiking and camping trips. I find it hard to believe that a reasonably sensible person would actually dive into a full blown flash flood. If we are going to embellish, let's at least keep it at a reasonable level. If I wanted to read a book about hiking and camping, I would purchase a book about hiking and camping or I would go back and read my own journals.
It is a complete disappointment that an Indiana Jones wannabe will sell himself as an expert and offer nothing in the way of substance or evidence.
The book is written as a narrative about the authors journeys and discoveries chasing the roots and history of the Native American people who thrived and built a great civilization across the Midwest but seemed to disappear in the 13th century. I found the history of the people fascinating and was amazed at how far their empire stretched, was intrigued by the forensic methods archeologists were using to uncover their history, by how much was still hidden, and also by the telling signs of what happened in the end years as their civilization collapsed and fell to ruin.
Initially, like some other reviewers, I also was annoyed by the lack of maps, but then began wondering whether Childs was intentionally avoiding involving the reader in the minutiae of the story and so distracting him or her from the real point: that there were large and complicated civilizations in the American southwest, trading extensively, and moving around in response to climate shifts, failures of crops or water supply, or pressures from other groups. From his other books I envisioned Childs as somewhat of a mystic (although he certainly doesn't give this impression in person), and it would be entirely consistent with this for him to be trying to capture the spirit of the region and convey an overall portrait of an entire area steeped in a culture that, although perhaps seemingly alien at first, becomes increasingly comprehensible as we begin to understand the conditions under which it arose and flourished. Then the absence of maps really doesn't seem so important.
Top reviews from other countries
Amazingly able to still discover untouched remnants and artifacts of this ancient order - from multiple sites - the author treks into the wild and inhospitable deserts landscapes of America, interpreting the signs and insights he gains.
This was a complete spur of the moment purchase and I am delighted to have acted so spontaneously.
A cracking read which sheds light onto an amazingly sophisticated society which disappeared almost entirely.
Really enjoyed this.
I think it's because I'm not American, so the history of the Pueblans and pre-colombian desert indians has no real connection to me. The book is full of information, and if you are interested in the history of the ancient desert indians then this is a very good book.
The only thing that I really took away from this book is human beings have not changed at all. We have always been prone to wicked things, the only thing that changes are the tools we use to do it!