Book of the Hopi

by Frank Waters

Paperback, 1977



Call number




Penguin Books Australia Ltd. (1977), Paperback


The secrets of the Hopi "road of life" revealed for the first time in written form In this strange and wonderful book, thirty elders of the ancient Hopi tribe of Northern Arizona--a people who regard themselves as the first inhabitants of America--freely reveal the Hopi worldview for the first time in written form. The Hopi kept this view a secret for countless centuries, and anthropologists have long struggled to understand it. Now they record their myths and legends, and the meaning of their religious rituals and ceremonies as a gift to future generations. Here is a reassertion of a rhythm of life we have disastrously tried to ignore and instincts we have tragically repressed, and a reminder that we must attune ourselves to the need for inner change if we are to avert a cataclysmic rupture between our minds and hearts.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member figre
This book is one of the classics of anthropological research. It is one of the few complete resources you will find on the Hopi mythologies, including how that mythology leads to the lives they live today. From that standpoint, it is one of the best books in its field.

However, the book suffers from
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two major flaws. (Flaws that have resulted in many detractors in the past.) The first is that the author seems to impose a Judeo-Christian mythos over the stories he has heard. The origin stories and the “Great White Brother” concept (one that does indeed run through many other tribe’s stories) seem to have a spin on them, as if the author wants us to see just how closely these align to our beliefs. The second is that the author has definitely lost his objectivity. Of course he sides with the Hopis in any story involving the Navajos. But he even goes so far as to side with different Hopi villages when their stories or beliefs may diverge.

But that only means what is told here needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The mere fact that the author may have lost his researcher’s objectivity does not take away from the fact that this is an incredible collection that pulls together so much of what makes the Hopis the unique tribe they are. And, though the author tries too hard to make the point, it is apparent that the Hopi have been a part of the greater expanse of tribes that have lived in the Americas far into the past.

At times it is dry and scholarly. Other times the author repeats himself. And other times there are just too many details. But read past the author’s inability to pull his own preconceived notion out of the narrative, and you will find an intriguing mythology that few people are lucky enough to share.
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LibraryThing member drjvrichardsonjr
Recommended by my native American friend as an excellent source for understanding the historical and religious views of the ancestral puebloans.



Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 7.7 inches


0140045279 / 9780140045277
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