People of the First Man: Life Among the Plains Indians in Their Final Days of Glory

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To read People of the First Man is to explore the American West of the early 1800's, when rivers ran pure and the land's proudest inhabitants were Native American Indians.

In 1833 the German explorer and naturalist, Prince Maximilian zu Weid, together with Karl Bodmer, his Swiss-born artist companion, traveled some 5,000 miles along the Missouri River during their year long sojourn with the Plains Indians. Mandan, Blackfoot, Cree, Sioux, Minnetaree, Assiniboin and Gros Ventres were among the diverse tribes of the Plains, where mastery of the horse had catapulted the Plains Indians to fame and undreamed of material wealth less than a half century before Maximilian's arrival in North America. In an economy enriched by bison and other plentiful game, warlike tribes on horseback produced a brief moment of Indian power and glory without benefit of a common language. Within a decade of Maximilian's return to Europe, Manifest Destiny, accompanied by smallpox and alcohol, led to the virtual extermination of the Plains culture. Traveling as guests of the American Fur Company, which trafficked in pelt and illegal whiskey, the European travelers were quick to discern the Indians' fate. It became Maximilian's and Bodmer's dangerous task to live and travel among many tribes to record painstakingly their daily life and ceremonial activities. Karl Bodmer's watercolors of tribal warriors, women and chiefs in full regalia, war parties, the hunt - faithfully reproduced here in full color, most of them for the first time - are certainly the finest pairings ever made of an aboriginal culture. 

Condition: Original dust cover that shows little shelf wear, the cloth covered board is in excellent condition. The pages do show some yellowing.


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Additional Info

Additional Info

OOP-NA-book-people of the first man
Edited by Davis Thomas and Karin Ronnefeldt
Publication Details:
1976 | 2nd Edition | E.P. Dutton | New York
Book Details:
Hard cover, 256 pages