So I read this a second time and in some ways appreciated it much more. I understood better Childs’ lapsing into the poetic, but I got a lot of info this time which I’d missed the first reading. My first reading I gave the book a 9.75, but that’s before letting it settle a bit and rereading it. That rating was due to the first excitement of the book. This time an 8.5 is an okay rating. I found shortcomings.
House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest
by Craig Childs
2007 / 482 pages
read by author – 15h 21m
rating: 8 / Native American history – archeology
A poetic sample from Part 8 in the book (these poetic parts bothered me the first time):
“The wind hemmed among the pines outside, and José paused, hearing it. The flame in the oil lamp shifted just slightly with the change in pressure. Shadows ducked through the room.”
And the word Childs means is ‘hemmed,’ it’s not a typo, because when he narrates it he says it that way.
Second readings are often quite illuminating for me and they’re usually totally worth the time but with House of Rain not so much. On the plus side I did get a better *feeling* for the Anasazi and their environment.
One thing which bothered me this time was that I had to do so much Googling to get a good perspective of the landscape which is inseparble from its inhabitants. I also found many more photos so i could actually see what some of the dwellings and artifacts looked like. There are lots of great web sites with some background info and excellent photos available. The last section of the book, Part 8, was totally new to me – I don’t think I’ve ever been south of the border between Tijuana and McAllen, Texas.
So I had no idea the area in Northern Mexico was so barren – US interest in Mexico (as a place to expand slavery) certainly ended by the extreme geography. They got to where they did becuase they needed a railroad to get to San Diego.
This is a fascinating video documentary of Paquimé area. It’s about 11 minutes:
Here’s another one but it’s longer and has more info, but is irritating for some reason. Good photography though.
And this is important – This reading I sense the tension between finding stuff out and leaving it untouched, unspoiled – Childs usually leaves stuff alone but once in awhile he picks things up and drops them back – his fellow travelers often leave with them. That pretty much climaxes in the last chapters. I suppose it’s a reason for the lack of photos, too. And what there are are tiny – but expandable in the Kindle.