Tales of the Northwest is the most remarkable collection of Indian stories I have encountered. The romantic adventures among the Iroquois Indians in James Fennimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, including Last of the Mohicans and Deerslayer, have their moments, but Tales of the Northwest surpass them in their vivid realism. Even when compared to the reminiscences of Lame Deer and Black Elk the Tales of the Northwest are superior.
I will go further, I have read alot of books in my life, but is just one of a handful of books that count as an experience. This may be one of those books that if you read it you will remember the images it describes as part of your life experiences.
We will quote from the review in the book-flap, “William Joseph Snelling, the author, wandered through the mid-western country in the 1820’s, fraternizing with the Indians and penetrating their dark barriers as few other white men have ever done. His stories bring to life the real Indian, who is neither the “noble savages” of romantic fiction nor the bloodthirsty sadists of popular imagination. Snelling knew his Indians, and his writing about them, though fictional, is forthright and sincere.”
After reading this remarkable book I demur, these stories sound very real, they have the feel of actual events. Maybe some of the names were changed, but it sounds as real as anything I have read. Like the Iliad these stories not only tell the story of a warrior society, but we also see how the Indian society functions, how the Indian braves courted the Indian ladies, what virtues the Indians valued and what vices they suffered from. This book includes some truly remarkable tales.