Book Review: American Indian Tribes of the Southwest, by Michael G. Johnson

By HistoryNet Staff
10/1/2013 • Wild West Reviews

American Indian Tribes of the Southwest, by Michael G. Johnson, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, U.K., 2013, $17.95

The latest title in Osprey’s Men-at-Arms series, American Indian Tribes of the Southwest is a compact summation of the Yuman, Piman, Athabaskan and Pueblo peoples who often clashed violently with the Spanish, Mexican and American settlers and accompanying armed forces. These, of course, include such famous tribes as the Chiricahua Apaches, Navajos, Pimas and Zunis. Given the 48-page limit Osprey provided, Johnson’s text is necessarily concise but manages to cover the overall subject, including the major wars and the manner in which the various tribes waged them. Accompanying the text is the usual wealth of amply captioned photographs and eight pages of color plates rendered in exceptional detail by artist Jonathan Smith. As with the other Indian books in the series, this one does not focus exclusively on the warriors, the illustrations including holy men, ritual dancers, women and children. Likewise the text deals with the religious and social mores of the respective groups, a reminder that for the Southwestern Indians, as elsewhere in North America, those aspects were integral to their lives.

Jon Guttman

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