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Winter of the Holy Iron Hardcover – 31 Dec 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press (Red Crane Books) (31 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878610449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878610447
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,007,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a powerful story about a people that must change to accommodate not only the white man but one of their tools--the gun. The questions raised in the story are ones that we are still struggling with today. Does owning a gun give the right to kill? -- Jim Northrup --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Does owning a gun give the right to kill?
To some, being a warrior comes from within; to others, possession of an external weapon represents their power. The questions raised in the story are ones that we are still struggling with today. Winter of the Holy Iron is a story that is as old as the oral tradition but as modern as the Brady Bill.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Oct. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Marshall provides a deep insight into the Native American world through the medium of the novel. The tale describes a society's reaction to agents of change and the means by which the changes are assimilated into culture.
Winter of the Holy Iron describes the affects of the "white man" and the new technologies used by the "white man" on Native American culture. Rather than being a simple comparitive novel, Marshall weaves a tale of conflict, understanding, and uncertainty from the perspective of a Native American but does not come to conclusions. According to the story, these types of change face us all -- across time and across cultures. This universal treatment makes Marshall's novel interesting reading and a compelling analysis of Native American and White cultures.
Marshall portrays the Native American as far more than a passive character in history or the blood-thirsty savage. Marshall's works define the Native American as an active participant in history. This refreshing perspective, along with his oral-storytelling-tradition-on-paper writing style, define the the Native American as active and not necessarily reactionary. Even today, Marshall's tale still accurately describes the issues between acceptance of foreign ideas and goods (assimilation) and the rejection of such ideas.
I have read Marshall's two other works in book form (I found his works by chance). Winter of the Holy Iron is different from his essays but embodies the best of his short essay narratives and descriptions (like those from Dance House : Stories from Rosebud). The novel is very well written and allows Marshall to develop characters that are unforgettable -- something he also masters in his short essays. This book is a true 5 star work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
History ever repeats 6 Jan. 2009
By mari - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When dealing with mankind - the only dealings we know - only the names, dates and places = and 'toys' - change, not, unfortunately, the nature of man.
In this book, all that it would require to be a story set in Afghanistan today, would be to change the names of the good guys and bad guys, the location and the date.
The never-ending battle between the bad apples and those whose lives are guided by an innate decency, high principles and true bravery have and are being replayed down through the annals of history. It may ever be so, that man never really progresses as to it's dealings with other men. We may never 'grow up' as a species on the whole, but only as one indivual at a time. Maybe that's by design?
This timessness of theme - and being set, not in the struggles between Native Americans and whites, but pre-white Native American civilization, is a great example of the 'forever' battle between the good, the bad and the ugly.
And for me, an avid reader/researcher/admirer of any and all things "Indian", this book is a keeper in my permanant library and on the gift list to family.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
worth reading 30 Jan. 2010
By Thomas P - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book like others by Marshall is excellent. The writing is superb. He reminds me of Steinbeck. A very enjoyable story written from the perspective of the Indian. Marshall's writing tends to be filled with insights and just plain fun reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Winter of the Holy Iron - Exellent 25 Mar. 2010
By Lindell R. Doty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like stories of the west and native Americans, you will love this book and his others too. Bias, yes. But, not overly so. Historically correct, yes, but remember it is fiction. He is Lokota! I recommend the book and the author's other works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highly Recommended - Winter of the Holy Iron 18 Oct. 2013
By Bobby Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As usual, Joseph M. Marshall, III has done an excellent undertaking in portraying the culture and history of the Lakota Peoples. There is much we can learn through their lives, whether it is portrayed through actual events and lives or through a fictitious version of events and lives.

He has excellently shown how the Lakota Peoples depended on courage, life experiences, skill, perseverance and other traditions gained from the knowledge of elders and experience, rather than a weapon (the Holy Iron - a muzzle loader gun) to guide them. There is a lot we can learn from the Lakota Peoples and all First Peoples of Turtle Island.

I highly recommend "Winter of the Holy Iron," by Joseph M. Marshall, III as an excellent portrayal of the Lakota Peoples and their culture and history. However, just as he indicated in his book, "On Behalf of the Wolf and the First Peoples," on page 34, we need to get in the lake to truly eperience the culture and history. Just reading is like dipping our toe in the lake or just walking around it.

I highly recommend all of Mr. Marshall's books.
A Lakota Tale told by a Lakota writer/historian... 29 Jan. 2014
By book lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(4.25 stars) I gave this book a chance even though I didn't care for Marshall's Crazy Horse biography too much. Happily, this book was more to my liking. It's the story of a band of Brule Lakota learning to deal with guns for the first time (around the 1740s). Overall, I found the story easy to read and it held my interest. As for authenticity, it's hard to argue with someone writing about their own culture but I would have made some little changes here and there. Still, overall, the story was well told and I recommend it. I'm kind of curious about some of his other (historical) fictional titles now, such as Hundred in the Hand. Winter of the Holy Iron was Marshall's first published fictional novel. Recommended
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