Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Shadows At Dawn

My brother recommended this to me a while ago and it seemed interesting enough that I downloaded it to my Kindle. I spent the last week or so reading it. It is a history book (non-fiction) and, from the standpoint of story-telling, I personally found it jumbled for no apparent reason other than to make it longer.

The author tells the story of the Camp Grant Massacre in Arizona from four different points of view – the American’s, the Mexican’s, and two tribal groups – the Tohono O’odham Indians on the side of the attackers and the Apache victims of the massacre. It would have been interesting except for what I considered to be technical problems – the author first establishes that he is going to write it from the four POV’s and then promptly proceeds to routinely disregard the framework he established.

The result, though interesting, in thematically jumbled.

That said, it is an interesting book and it does reveal the “intimate violence” of the frontier and has a moment or two of brilliance. I think it would have been a better book if the author had kept to his self-imposed narrative framework more rigorously because he kept representing things he had already presented (which it was lead me to the conclusion that he was padding the book). If you are unfamiliar with the Camp Grant Massacre however, it is worth a read.

On the tail of this book I have started another one that have been looking forward to – “Cleopatra, A Life” by Stacy Shiff.

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