PositiveThe Wall Street JournalIt is a book of fragments ... Somehow the fragments cohere into a more compelling portrait than a more linear brush, and a less personally visible artist, could have painted ... Ms. Fenn\'s mosaic brilliantly overcomes the shortcomings of her written and archaeological sources. Yet these also limit her ability to penetrate Mandan motives and beliefs, and when she moves beyond ecological matters, Encounters at the Heart of the World can be less satisfying ... Ms. Fenn simply seems far more at home discussing droughts, maize, horses, rodents and microbes than things less easily touched and handled ... Readers who follow her toward, but never quite into, the heart of the Mandans\' world will be richer for the journey.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalReading Michael A. McDonnell’s Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America, the resonances of my boyhood trip became even more clear. We flew in a Detroit-made machine across a monument to colonial technology towering over Native people we knew nothing about. We couldn’t pronounce the name of the place where they lived, much less the name they called themselves. In this, we were like many outsiders who had come before us.