Crashing Thunder

The Autobiography of an American Indian
Paul Radin
Foreword and Appendix by Arnold Krupat
A brotherly companion to Nancy Lurie's Mountain Wolf Woman


Paul Radin, one of America's first and most reputable professional anthropologists, lived among the Winnebago Indians for years, and for years he tried without success to interview the notorious younger son of the Blow Snake family, the Crashing Thunder of this book. At last Crashing Thunder agreed to tell Radin his life story, one that Radin calls "a true rake's progress."

Speaking through Radin, Crashing Thunder told of his childhood, stories of Winnebago gods, his appetite for women and beer, and his extraordinary friends and relatives, including his brother-in-law, Thunder Cloud, then in his third incarnation. Crashing Thunder also told of his redemption through his new religion, peyote.

To enhance understanding of the autobiography and its place in anthropology and literature, a new foreword, appendix, and index have been prepared by eminent Native American scholar, Arnold Krupat.

Paul Radin (1883-1959) was an American anthropologist who was considered an authority on the culture of primitive societies, especially the tribal societies of native North Americans. Among his many works are the books The Winnebago Tribe, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians, and The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology.

Arnold Krupat is Professor of English, Sarah Lawrence College.

Praise / Awards

  • "The Winnebago's autobiography is one which no novelist, no psychologist, no student of the mystical life can afford not to read. That the book is also a distinguished contribution to ethnological knowledge is of minor importance. Its value, its immense and pertinent value, to the general reader is as a key to a trend of modern literature which is at present in need of just such exposition."
    Saturday Review of Literature

Product Details

  • 5-1/4 x 8.
  • 256pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1999
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08632-0

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  • $22.95 U.S.