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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.