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4.8 out of 5 stars62
4.8 out of 5 stars
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2000
I have seen the film many times and one day at the library I picked the book up and well it has held me in it's intense, heart warming story since! The book is much better than the film.
The story is about an american soldier who wants to be posted in the frontier before it vanishes and becomes civilized. He is posted to a Fort Sedgewick and he is all alone. The army have forgotten about him and he finds neighbours, friends and loved ones with the Indians. He finds he belongs with them.
I definately recommend this book. It is a worthwhile read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2001
I have seen the film two or three times but the book was even better.
One of my top reads ever, story was superb and this is one book you won't want to put down. No other words for it! Other than enjoy plus perfectly captures one moment of time in American History and the enduring character of John Dunbar (Dances With Wolves). If you enjoyed the film you will love the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I have watched the film several times and each time have identified something that I missed previously. Little did I know that reading the book would be even better. I must admit that having watched the excellent film helped me in my visualisation of the content of this book which I felt at first might have spoiled this read for me. From the start, I was thoroughly engrossed in the text and from my perspective it appeared to add a third dimension to the two dimensional film. The story allows the reader to look deeper into the changes that took place as the white man moved further to the west and left behind death and destruction. It reminded me of the fact that the first nation ever to use germ or chemical warfare was the USA: in regards to the former it was through trading smallpox impregnated furs with the natives with obvious consequences and the latter via introducing the natives to whisky and through their ready susceptibility to alcoholism, moved them onto wood alcohol which drove them blind, mad and ultimately to alcoholic poisoning.

Please do not be put off by my interpretation of the book. It is both delightful yet extremely sad and leaves the reader at the end with the dilemma of what was going to happen to the group which up until that time had enjoyed the freedoms of the vast plains with their only enemy being the other tribes and nature.

I would not suggest that you listen to the soundtrack by John Barry whilst you read it, but considering the film, the book and the soundtrack it is hard to find anything which compares, with the exception of high noon and perhaps the Godfather: strange comparisons, but for me, three of the very best combinations of text, visual and sound ever produced.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2011
I can hardly believe it has been twenty years since "Dances With Wolves" came out. I was so excited to see it available on my kindle. I hadn't read it in so many years, my physical copy went missing. I had to read it all over again for the first time. I was not disappointed. This new edition has an updated preface by Michael Blake and it tells a great story. Anyone who loves the movie, hasn't read Dances With Wolves yet, or just likes wonderful storytelling and great writing should pick this one up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2009
If you like the film: Dances With Wolves [1991] [DVD] you will love the book, one of the best books I've read in a long time, the book brought sadness, joy, meaning and humour together.
Certainly a thought provoking read, but also a enjoyable one, you will not regret buying this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2011
'Dances With Wolves' is an excellent novel.

Michael Blake's English is very simple and straight-forward, as others have remarked. It tells a story of a man at odds with his own culture who rediscovers himself in another. Culture and characters dance around John Dunbar and provide colour to his emerging personality. The descriptions are very effective because of their simplicity and clearly the author has great sympathy with the COMANCHES.

Note the capital letters because, like others I cannot understand why Kevin Costner made the 'locals' into Sioux or Lakota. As in the book, John Dunbar starts out from Fort Hayes, deep in Comanche territory, but he meets up with the Lakota, in reality far away. The book is set in the middle of the Civil War: Costner places it firmly in 1865 - just at the time when relations between whites & Sioux were rapidly slipping into what is styled Red-Cloud's war. As others have asked: Why?

I've enjoyed Costner's film but it drags at times as he plays out key scenes such as the buffalo hunt and the fight with the Pawnee (blending in a memory, in the book, of Stands With A Fist). Some subtleties Costner evades, such as Captain Cargill evacuating Fort Sedgewick immediately before Dunbar's arrival(book) rather than it being deserted a long time (film),the major at Fort Hayes being removed as insane (book) rather than shooting himself(film), the buffalo-skinners being caught & killed (book) rather than just disappearing (film.

The book doesn't use 'foreign' words because it doesn't need to. It doesn't use vocabulary of a level the film employs because it doesn't need to. It doesn't show Dunbar and wife disappearing into the wilderness hunted by the cavalry, because it doesn't need to.

In sum, the film does it's job with great music, fantastic photography and first-rate direction and acting. The book is just as effective in a simpler, more direct fashion.

Once again this shows how the written-word is so muxh more effectivee in exploiting the IMAGINATION of its 'audience'. That is the power of books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2011
It's hard to believe that this book has been out for 20 years. Michael Blake created such a masterpiece that it is still relevant today. I just revisited the film recently and decided to read the book to get a better perspective on the material and it didn't disappoint. You can feel the passion that the author feels for the subject matter. His research comes through the pages. I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction as well as someone who is looking for a new classic book to enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2014
I read this book constantly waiting for things to kick off. Given the acknowledged fearsome reputation of the Comanches the book tended to gloss over any details of the violent confrontations between the indians and whites, and veered towards the 'noble savage' stereotype. Similarly the Lieutenant Dunbar character was without apparent flaw. The story was predictable even if you hadn't seen the film, and too sanitised and romanticised to give any real appreciation of the hardships and privations prevalent at the time.
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on 15 June 2015
Saw the film at the cinema and bought the DVD but it wasn't until I watched the film again on TV that I noticed that the story was taken from a book by Michael Blake. I decided to try reading this as a change from my usual crime thrillers and I'm overjoyed that I did. It doesn't differ too greatly from the film but had far greater depth and insight. It was so page-turning that I had difficulty putting it down. It's thought provoking, happy in places but deeply sad when you recall what we (the 'white' man) did to the native people (not just in America). You don't need to have seen the film to enjoy this book and, enjoyable as the film was, the book has so much more to offer including the ending. Definitely one of the greatest reads I've had for some time.
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on 9 September 2014
I give this book five stars because I can honestly say that it has drawn me into it completely. An effortless piece of story telling which captures the imagination from the first page. There is nothing difficult about this book, the pages just kept turning and I found myself lost in a beautifully crafted epic tale. A joy to read.
I am a fan of Western literature and after reading Lonesome Dove didn't think I would find anything else to match it in the genre. Although this is a different type of read it stands up as another classic.
I would say great books reach outside of their genre and you don't have to be a fan of westerns to appreciate this book for what it is, a fabulous, warm, exciting tale on a breathtakingly Grande scale. Well done Michael Blake!
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