Now it is time for you to read the letters of Mari Sandoz. If it has been a clear summer day and it is near sundown, take this book and a cool drink outside and soak in the wisdom of a writer with a cause. --John R. Wunder, from the foreword
Author Mari Sandoz was as passionate about Plains peoples as she was about language and literary acclaim. That the mastery of Crazy Horse's biographer spilled into her zealous advocacy for Native Americans is scarcely surprising. An avid letter writer, Sandoz kept carbons of everything. Fortunately these came into the Sandoz Collection at the University of Nebraska Archives, organized by Kimberli A. Lee, foremost expert on Sandoz's writings.
Though Sandoz richly deserves attention, recent scholarship is scant. In arranging and analyzing this correspondence, Lee reinstates Sandoz as one of the most significant non-Native chroniclers and advocates for Plains Indian cultures. There is much here for historians and other scholars of American Indian, Great Plains, rhetorical, and women's studies. Yet Sandoz's wider fan base should not be surprised to hearken to a voice and ardor they will find well familiar.
Kimberli A. Lee teaches in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Department at Michigan State University and is working on a book on contemporary Native American music on the Great Plains.