Cover image for Fools Crow : a novel
Fools Crow : a novel
Welch, James, 1940-2003.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Viking, 1986.
Physical Description:
391 p. ; ill.


Call Number
Material Type
Branchport - Modeste Bedient Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC WEL Adult Fiction Book
Hammondsport - Fred and Harriett Taylor Memorial Library 1 FIC Adult Fiction Book
Pulteney Free Library 1 FIC Adult Fiction Book
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 STACKS FIC Adult Fiction Book

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Reviews 4

Booklist Review

At age 18, White Man's Dog, long the butt of his tribe, wins the name Fools Crow and the respect of his people in a compelling novel that evokes the Northern Plains Indian world of the nineteenth century. (Ag 86 Upfront)

Publisher's Weekly Review

Suspenseful and moving, written with an authenticity and integrity that give it sweeping power, Welch's third novel (The Death of Jim Loney is a masterful evocation of a Native American culture and its passing. From their lodges on the endless Montana plains, the members of the Lone Eaters band of the Pikuni (Blackfeet) Indians live in harmony with nature, hunting the ``blackhorns'' (buffalo), observing a complex system of political administration based on mutual respect and handing down legends that explain the natural world and govern daily conduct. The young protagonist is first called White Man's Dog, but earns the respected name Fools Crow for meritorious conduct in battle. Through his eyes we watch the escalating tensions between the Pikunis and the white men (``the Napikwans''), who deliberately violate treaties and initiate hostilities with the hard-pressed red men. At the same time, the feared ``white scabs plague'' (smallpox) decimates the Lone Eaters communities, and they realize that their days are numbered. There is much to savor in this remarkable book: the ease with which Fools Crow and his brethren converse with animals and spirits, the importance of dreams in their daily lives, the customs and ceremonies that measure the natural seasons and a person's lifespan. Without violating the patterns of Native American speech, Welsh writes in prose that surges and sings. This bittersweet story is an outstanding work. Illustrated. 25,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (November) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A portentous dream seems to overshadow the Lone Eaters clan of the Blackfeet Indians in the post-Civil War years. The slow invasion of the Napikwans, or whites, is inevitable and coincidental, however. As we follow White Man's Dog (later renamed Fools Crow), we see how some of his people try to follow the Napikwan ways, others rebel against them, and many ignore them. This alien force has both subtle and obvious methods of eliminating the tribal ways, and we watch individuals, families, and traditions crumbling. Welch's third novel ( Winter in the Blood, The Death of Jim Loney) is like finding a lifestyle preserved for a century and reanimated for our benefit and education. Recommended for anyone who wants to see what we have lost, and read a fine novel in the process. W. Keith McCoy, Dowdell Lib., South Amboy, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Two observations should be made about James Welch's new novel: the novel is competent, engaging, and readable; and Welch departs from the contemporary settings he used to great advantage in Winter in the Blood (1974) and The Death of Jim Loney (1979) and ventures into the historical past (the 19th century), a setting that Native writers have assiduously avoided-and for good reason. Literarily speaking, the 19th century is a white century, and the expectation of authenticity (anthropological detail) and accuracy (historical detail) have simply not allowed Native writers the potential or scope for the creation of characters and world that they enjoy by setting their novels in the present. Fools Crow, then, is both a novel and an expedition; for part of Welch's plan is quite clearly to try to reclaim a piece of this period and make it his own. In this he both succeeds and fails. On the one hand, Welch creates characters such as Crow, Wolverine, and the woman in the white doeskin dress, who have their origins in Native oral literature; alongside the historical world, Welch creates a Native world, a world of myth and vision where his main character, Fools Crow, finds strength and knowledge. On the other hand, Welch does not make so much use of these characters or the world he creates as he might. Recommended for undergraduate, graduate, and public libraries.-T. King, University of Lethbridge

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