how wonderful this book is and how talented the author of this beautifully drawn memoir of a difficult though talented man. I've just finished rereading it and find it even more enjoyable than before.
"Encounter with an Angry God, Recollections of my Life with John Peabody Harrington" is filled with pages of excitement. And, it's neither on a best seller list nor by a well known author.
This is the real thing. The American Indian West as it was documented by the greatest linguist-ethnographer, John Peabody Harrington, a genius who was so obsessed with recording data that he ignored traditional routes of academic prestige. Today he would probably be labeled a manic-depressive.
Carobeth Laird, writes an intensely personal and intimate reminiscence of the seven-year period (1915 to 1922) when she was married to Harrington. He was probably the worst choice for a husband. The couple traveled the West as field ethnographers during the formative years of American anthropology. This was the beginning of the time when the Indian family consisted of a father, mother, some children, maybe grandparents, and, an anthropologist. A scholar in her own right, Laird wrote this fascinating book in 1975 when she was days away from age 80. That in itself is noteworthy.
Linguist-ethnographer John Peabody Harrington was an eccentric genius and one of the giants of American anthropology. This is a story of the seven-year marriage Of Harrington & Carobeth Laird, written when she was in her seventies and published when she was eighty years old. It is a compelling tale that has sold over 250,000 copies.