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The Way to Rainy Mountain Paperback – Sep 1 1976

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 98 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; Reprint edition (Sept. 1 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826304362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826304360
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 15.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #276,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Written with great dignity, the book has something about it of the timeless, of that long view down which the Kiowa look to their myth-shrouded beginnings."

"It is a beautiful book; honest, unique, dignified, and told with a simplicity that approaches the purest poetry. It is a book for all seasons, for all readers."

"Mr. Momaday retells the Kiowa myths that he learned from his grandmother, speculates on the actual history they may symbolize, and describes, with infectious nostalgia, the Indian life he knew as a child. There are distinctive illustrations by the author's father, Al Momaday. The whole book is most attractive; beautifully written, full of gentleness and dignity."

From the Inside Flap

Kiowa Indian myth, history, and personal reminiscences.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday; illustrated by Al Momaday. Highly recommended.
Rainy Mountain, a "single knoll [that] rises out of the plain in Oklahoma," is an old landmark for the Kiowa people. It is a land of bitter cold, searing heat, summer drought, and "great green and yellow grasshoppers." It is a land of loneliness, where the Kiowa were drawn after a long journey from the northwest through many types of lands.
The Way to Rainy Mountain is about the journey-in myth, in drawings by Momaday's father Al, in reminiscences, and in historical snippets. All reveal aspects of Kiowa culture, life, philosophy, outlook, spirituality, and sense of self-the beauty and the desolation, how the introduction of the horse revolutionized Kiowa life, the story of Tai-me, and the richness of the word and the past. It is a literal journey as well; Momaday, in Yellowstone, writes, "The Kiowas reckoned their stature by the distance they could see, and they were bent and blind in the wilderness."
This is a small gem of a book, beautifully written, illustrated, and designed. It has moments of insight, beauty, and sadness, as the ending of the Sun Dance, telling as the sun is at the heart of the Kiowa's soul-a soul that survives in every word and drawing of The Way to Rainy Mountain.
Diane L. Schirf, 3 March 2002.
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Format: Paperback
THE WAY TO RAINY MOUNTAIN is a fscinating account of the Kiowa spirit's core through the poet N Scott Momaday's three voices: the collective tribal story-telling voice, the historic voice (based on historical documentation), and the poet's own experiential voice (Momaday retraced the migratory route of his ancestors from Montana to Oklahoma). These three voices work on the reader's imagination to produce a fourth voice on the stage of the reader's mind. THE WAY TO RAINY MOUNTAIN depicts an epic journey of the Kiowa people through space (Montana southward) and time (mythological to modern). The ancient Kiowa's psyche fuses with primal nature be it with dog persons, antelope beings, or the mythological (but very real) creature called Taime.Once in Oklahoma the Kiowa mastered the horse and became among the best of hunters on the Great Plains. Brave in spirit, sharing in heart, they became a proud people. But European civilization closed in and all but crushed them by killing off the buffalo, killing herds of horses and turning hunters into farmers. Yet the Kiowa people held their vital contact with the land in today's hectic world: "Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth, I believe," writes Momaday. "He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it." Momaday helps the reader do just that--gain an appreciation for the multi-dimensional land of North America
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Format: Paperback
This book is deceptively short: it can be read in about an hour, but you find yourself going back and reading its various passages and thinking about them long afterwards. Momaday tells a story of the Kiowa Indians by tying in three aspects: folklore, actual historical events and his own family history. The book's format underscores this, with the first, folkloric item printed on one page, and the historical and personal reflections in separate paragraphs on the facing page, all set in different fonts. Not meant to be a comprehensive account of the Kiowas, it is rather an attempt to express the author's own feelings and his own view of his heritage. In this he largely succeeds, as he writes poetry in a simple yet powerful prose form. The only shortcoming for me were the illustrations (done by Momaday's father), which seemed to add little to the overall narrative. Otherwise, "The Way to Rainy Moutain" is a very unique and worthwhile book.
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Format: Hardcover
The Way to Rainy Mountain is one of those rare books that changed my whole persepective of the world. The beauty of his style and simplicity of his stories show what a firm grasp and love of the language Dr. Momaday has. I had the priviledge of hearing Dr. Momaday speak recently. Much to my joy, he speaks much the same way he writes--in clear, simple phrases. He doesn't take language for granted. Instead he cherishes every syllable, every sound. But not only did this book teach me about the language, but about a culture. The way Dr. Momaday views the world, nature, and other people is truly fascinating and insightful. He is a spokesman for a rapidly diminishing world of orators and storytellers. This book will live in the hallowed halls of literature for countless generations.
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Format: Paperback
In his writing, Momaday creates a vibrant sense of how stories are expressed through living words within vital communities. His brillant blending of mythology, folktales, oral history, historical descriptions, and personal reflections all connect in a fascinating story about finding one's way in life's journeys. The writing is so vivid and the book is so animated that patient readers will connect with what Momaday presents, provided that they choose to share in the reflective silence that he offers on the way to Rainy Mountain.
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