Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means

by Russell Means

Hardcover, 1995

Call number




St Martins Pr (1995), Edition: 1st, 573 pages


Biography & Autobiography. Sociology. Nonfiction. An autobiography of epic scope‚??the riveting, controversial story of Russell Means, the most revolutionary Indian leader of the Twentieth Century.Where White Men Fear to Tread (written with Marvin J. Wolf) tells the absorbing story of the accountant-turned-Indian activist who burst onto the national scene when he led a seventy-one-day armed takeover of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973.Ever since, Means has done everything possible to dramatize the Indian wish for self-determination, from storming Mount Rushmore, to seizing Plymouth Rock, to fighting for the rights of indigenous Indian tribes in Central America, to running for President on the Libertarian ticket in 1988. The autobiography recounts Means's remarkable story‚??his incarcerations in prison, the thirteen assassination attempts on his life, his intellectual transformation to an outlaw personality, his spiritual awakening, and his most recent reincarnation as a Hollywood movie star in The Last of the Mohicans and Pocahontas.Told against a larger historical background, Means's book retells the tragic quest of Indians to maintain their cultural identity in the face of unremitting white assimilation. We come away from Where White Men Fear to Tread knowing that Means is one of the bravest patriots in American history‚??a man in the tradition of Patrick Henry, Nat Turner, John Brown, Sitting Bull, and Abraham Lincoln, for these men are Means's true historical ancestors. Long awaited, this autobiography takes its place among the enduring works of America's greatest political and social leaders. In the tradition of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Where White Men Fear to Tread is one of the most socially illuminating and provocative works to come along in ma… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member arning
You read "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee" and think how could my country treat a people so badly. Then you read this book about my generation and realize it still going on.
LibraryThing member fulner
Means could have used a better copy editor. Though from the stories he told, he's one stubborn SOB, the publisher probably tried to real him in and this is the best they got. I tried reading the dead tree version, but kept getting lost, and eventually borrowed the audio book version. This is one
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that i wish the book was the abridged and give me the unabridged audio book.

However, that being said, Russel Mean's story, of first trying to fight against this heritage, seeing what government hand outs, had done to the family, and then later fighting for the true nature of being an Indian left nothing to the imagination.

The successes they had in the 70s, even the violent struggles, almost makes me wish my family wanted to be AIM members in 2014.

Though I learn that their is reason why The American Indian Movement is practically non-existent. Like many small organizations it became place for internally bickering, and like places that promote violence for change, they can very successful, but the change is not lasting. Non-violence is the future. Russel Means was a great individual, and I feel like less of a person for not taking the opportunity to meet him when I could.
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LibraryThing member untraveller
I have absolute total empathy for Means and his position in life. That said, the book was a bit hard to read and could have used an editor to bring his story together better. I understand not wanting to compromise and he did his best not to, but sometimes in a society we have to do so....or leave.
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That is what he did, over and over again. I remember so much of what he discusses in the book and the memories are not necessarily good ones. It calls to mind my employment with the govt....complete total frustration and constant bewilderment....where did all these dumb asses come from?
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LibraryThing member nx74defiant
He goes in to the story of his life in great detail. It is not an easy read. His writing style doesn't really work for me.




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