A little variety to stretch the mind — gently.
Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Questions and Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian, by National Museum of The American Indian, Collins, $14.95, (September 2007), ISBN-10: 006115301X, ISBN-13: 978-0061153013, pp. 256 This book digests a great deal of historical, social and cultural information that people of other cultures might want to know, drawing from questions the museum has been asked in letters. The book begins with the often-asked question about what is the correct terminology for the indigenous people of the Americas. The answer suggests that it depends on a number of variables. Each topic is treated in a clear, concise essay signed by one of the museum’s contributors.
Book of Salsa: A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City (Latin America in Translation), by César Miguel Rondón, translated by Frances R. Aparicio and Jackie White, University of North Carolina Press, $59.95, cloth, $20 paper, (February 2008), ISBN-10: 0807858595, ISBN-13: 978- 0807858592, pp. 352.
This history of salsa was first published in 1980 but not available in English until now. César Miguel Rondón chronicles the genre’s development, from its birth in the 1940s, fusing jazz,Cuban/Caribbean/South American rhythms into explosive, danceable, urban compositions. The book documents the contributions of the musical pioneers and entrepreneurs who created and nourished the salsa phenomenon, taking it from street to ballroom. The period since 1980 is covered in a new chapter, and a discography offers a tempting sample of recordings.
Doing the Public Good: Latina/o Scholars Engage Civic Participation,
by Kenneth P. Gonzalez, Raymond V. Padilla (Editors), Stylus Publishing, $69.95, hardback, $24.95, paperback, (November 2007) ISBN-10: 1579222633, ISBN-13: 978-1579222635, pp. 172. A dozen Latino(a) scholars use their personal testimonies as a springboard for reflection on the intersections between scholarship and civic responsibility. The accounts are the result of “autoethnography,” which the authors define as an “autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural.”
Cooking the Gullah Way, Morning, Noon, and Night, by Sallie Ann Robinson and Jessica B. Harris (Foreword), University of North Carolina Press, $15.95, (October 2007), ISBN-10: 0807858439, ISBN-13: 978-0807858431, pp. 176.
While this is a cookbook — Sallie Ann Robinson’s second on the topic — and not a textbook or study, it is far more than a collection of recipes. The primary author, Jessica Harris, is a native of Daufuskie Island, one of the Sea Islands off South Carolina’s shores that are home to the endangered Gullah/African-American culture, and the author of many books on world cuisines. Robinson was one of the children taught by Pat Conroy and depicted in his book, The Water Is Wide, and “Conrack,” the film based on it. Between recipes, she gives us an insider’s account of daily life largely untouched by modern conveniences and outside influences as late as the 1960s when she was growing up, a way of life now endangered by encroachment, tourism and the lure of life elsewhere.
— Angela P. Dodson is an online editor for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens (John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture), by
Celia E. Naylor, University of North Carolina Press, $22.50, (May 2008), ISBN- 10: 0807858838, ISBN-13: 978-0807858837, pp. 376. Cutting through myths and setting aside romanticized notions, Dr. Celia Naylor explores the bonds of culture and sometimes blood that linked Blacks to their Cherokee slave masters. She concentrates on the period after their forced removal together from the Southeast to the Oklahoma territory in the 1830s and up to 1907, when Oklahoma was admitted to statehood. Naylor, an assistant professor of history at Dartmouth College, draws heavily on the personal narratives those previously owned by the Cherokee, or their descendents, gave to the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, a century or so after the Trail of Tears.
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