Synopses & Reviews
In this landmark work on the Anasazi tribes of the Southwest, naturalist Craig Childs dives head on into the mysteries of this vanished people.
The various tribes that made up the Anasazi people converged on Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) during the 11th century to create a civilization hailed as "the Las Vegas of its day," a flourishing cultural center that attracted pilgrims from far and wide, and a vital crossroads of the prehistoric world. By the 13th century, however, Chaco's vibrant community had disappeared without a trace.
Was it drought? Pestilence? War? Forced migration, mass murder or suicide? Conflicting theories have abounded for years, capturing the North American imagination for eons.
Join Craig Childs as he draws on the latest scholarly research, as well as a lifetime of exploration in the forbidden landscapes of the American Southwest, to shed new light on this compelling mystery. He takes us from Chaco Canyon to the highlands of Mesa Verde, to the Mongollon Rim; to a contemporary Zuni community where tribal elders maintain silence about the fate of their Lost Others; and to the largely unexplored foothills of the Sierra Madre in Mexico, where abundant remnants of Anasazi culture lie yet to be uncovered.
"An original, eloquent account of an intellectual and archaeological odyssey." Kirkus Reviews
"The book is finally not so much about what happened to the Anasazi as it is about our own fascination with lost civilizations." Booklist
"Childs vividly weaves his personal narrative, imbued with a deep respect for the geography and cultural landscape, with scientific research and numerous interactions with foremost scholars." Library Journal
"Childs has done casual scholars of the prehistoric Southwest a great favor by compiling so much information so fluidly in a single volume." Los Angeles Times
"Childs does a phenomenal job of portraying both the theories and their inventors in favorable lights, and the reader catches a glimpse of a hearty outdoor world filled with people obsessed with the puzzle of the past." Denver Post
Drawing on the latest scholarly research and archaeological evidence, the author of The Secret Knowledge of Water examines the remarkable accomplishments of the Anasazi people of the American Southwest and offers the latest speculation about how and why the culture vanished by the thirteenth century.
Childs investigates the greatest "unsolved mystery" of the American Southwest. The Anasazi, the native peoples who by the 11th century converged on Chaco Canyon (now New Mexico), built a flourishing cultural center. By the 13th century, the Anasazi were gone from Chaco. What happened?
A feat of historical detection the most significant, and certainly the most enthralling, book on American prehistory to appear in decades.
The greatest "unsolved mystery" of the American Southwest relates to the Anasazi, the native peoples who by the 11th century converged on Chaco Canyon (now New Mexico) and built a flourishing cultural center that attracted pilgrims from far and wide, a vital crossroads of the prehistoric world. The Anasazis' accomplishments in agriculture, in art, in commerce, in architecture and engineering were astounding, rivaling those of the Mayans in distant Central America.
By the 13th century, however, the Anasazi were gone from Chaco. Vanished. What was it drought? pestilence? war? forced migration? mass murder or suicide? Craig Childs draws on scholarly research and a lifetime of adventure and exploration in the American Southwest to pursue the mystery of their disappearance. Considering many possibilities, he points the way to a new understanding of how a vibrant civilization collapsed.
About the Author
Craig Child's a naturalist, adventurer, desert ecologist, and frequent contributor to National Public Radio's Morning Edition lives in Crawford, Colorado. His previous books include The Secret Knowledge of Water, Soul of Nowhere, and The Way Out.