Sunday, December 2, 2012

REVIEW: The Last of the Bird People by John Hanson Mitchell

Title: The Last of the Bird People
Series: none
Author: John Hanson Mitchell
Published Date: September 7, 2012
Publisher: Wilderness House Press
Format: paperback
Pages: 184
ISBN-10: 0982711573
Copy provided by: publisher through LibraryThing
Genre: fiction
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 4 stars

Book Synopsis: In 1928, Massachusetts water authorities began land takings for the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir, in the Swift River Valley. Unknown to the authorities was the fact that, subsisting in the more remote, forested tracts of the valley, there was a secretive band of mixed-race hunter-gatherers who had been there for over ten generations. Mitchell's book is the story of the exodus of this tribe and the young anthropologist who first discovers them. The novel takes the form of a legal deposition, taken at the Everglades City Court House, in 1929, concerning the fate of these people. John Hanson Mitchell ( is the author of Ceremonial Time: Fifteen Thousand Years on Once Square Mile (Counterpoint) and eight other books on cultural and environmental history, the most recent of which is The Paradise of All These Parts, A Natural History of Boston (Beacon Press). He is also the creator and editor of the award-winning magazine, "Sanctuary", published by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

My review: I received a free copy of this book through Librarything in exchange for an honest review. 

It took me awhile to get into the book, but once I sat down and really delved into it, I couldn't put it down. The idea of the possibility of such a tribe existing in our modern world is so intriguing. The way the author shows everything and explains it from an aboriginal point of view was very creative. Most of the times I could figure it out, other times I was left scratching my head till Tracker explained it to the tribe. Seeing our world from a non-technological tribe's view, I can see how it would be terrifying to them.
While I didn't really have any emotional connection to the characters, I didn't need one. I really saw it as just one person's view of a series of events. The only time I really had one was the end, where it was really left open to reader interpretation. Did the tribe survive or not? Were they betrayed?

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