Scott O'Dell

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Betty Baker

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If Bright Morning gave her story to an anthropologist, she would tell it the way Scott O'Dell does in ["Sing Down the Moon"]. In simple statements, almost devoid of emotion, the Navaho girl relates her capture by Spanish slavers, her escape and return to Canyon de Chelly just before the United States Army moves against her people. Understatement counterpoints and emphasizes the wanton destruction of crops and livestock to starve the Navahos into submission, the tribe's suffering on the Long March and during internment at Fort Sumner…. This shielding of the deeply personal is true Indian narrative but sacrifices the intimacy and depth one expects in a first-person viewpoint. Without fully understanding the mystic triangle of Indian, land and religion, especially strong in the Navaho, the reader can appreciate Bright Morning's strength and determination as real as that of her people and the way her story is faithful to Navaho history.

Betty Baker, in a review of "Sing Down the Moon," in The New York Times Book Review, October 18, 1970, p. 34.

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