The Delight Makers


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4 out of 5

Unique in nineteenth-century American literature for its blend of historical romance and scientific observation, The Delight Makers provides in fictional form an invaluable reconstruction of prehistoric Indian culture of the Southwest. Written by an archaeologist who had spent eight years among the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, it tells the story of the ancestors of the modern Pueblos, the Queres, who are dominated by a powerful secret society called the Koshare or "Delight Makers." Rivalry between clans and a conspiracy to accuse a woman of sorcery touch of war with a neighboring tribe, the Tehuas, and lead to the destruction of the Queres settlement. Bandelier wrote the book, he said, "to make the 'Truth about the Pueblo Indians' more accessible and perhaps more acceptable to the public in general….The descriptions of the country and of its mature are real. The descriptions of manners and customs, of creeds and rites, are from actual observations by myself and other ethnologists….The descriptions of architecture are based upon investigations of ruins still in existence on the sites where they are placed in the story. The plot is my own. But most of the scenes described I have witnessed…" The result of Bandelier's painstaking research, long-neglected, is a work that is destined to become a classic study of America's early inhabitants.


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