Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
on 15 January 2012
This is a great book to read, clearly the work of an interesting personality. I just wish I could be sure that it was the personality of a Sioux medicine man, as opposed to that of an Austrian artist (Richard Erdoes). Given that Lame Deer says he was never much good at English, the actual words must be substantially the work of Erdoes; and parts of the book feel like they may be substantially his thoughts, too.
These days we're used to 'autobiographies' written by shadow writers, but there are two important differences here:
a)The subject's native language is not English (so he wouldn't be able to oversee it very effectively);
b)the book's main interest is its authenticity.
If I could be sure that it was genuinely the thought, even if not the words, of Lame Deer, I'd give it five stars. It's full of fascinating material both about traditional Sioux life, including religious practices like the Sun Dance, and about the way Native Americans regard and deal with the modern world. Three stars reflects the impossibility of knowing how far it is for real.