The best books about Ancestral Puebloans

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Ancestral Puebloans and why they recommend each book.

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House of Rain

By Craig Childs,

Book cover of House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest

Meanwhile, in the American Southwest we have the Great House civilization of the “Anasazi” -- more correctly, the Ancestral Puebloan people -- renowned for creating Chaco Canyon and many other great cultural centers. (Chaco and its inhabitants figure strongly in my third book, Eagle and Empire.) Craig Childs’ book makes this area, and its peoples, and the sheer extent of their civilization, come alive. It’s a beautiful and evocative work of archeological detective work and exploration.


Who am I?

My twin passions are science and history, and I try to have it both ways by writing a mix of alternate history and hard SF. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, enjoyed lots of family vacations at Hadrian’s Wall and other Roman-rich areas, and acquired degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford, but I’ve lived in the US for over half my life and now work for NASA (studying black holes, neutron stars, and other bizarre celestial objects). My novella of a Roman invasion of ancient America, A Clash of Eagles, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and formed the starting point for my Clash of Eagles trilogy from Del Rey, and Hot Moon, my alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, will be published by CAEZIK SF & Fantasy in 2022.


I wrote...

Clash of Eagles: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book I

By Alan Smale,

Book cover of Clash of Eagles: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book I

What is my book about?

The Roman Empire has survived in its classical form until 1218 AD, and has now discovered North America. Transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean to Nova Hesperia, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors.

Gaius Marcellinus and his 33rd Legion expect easy victories over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of the Mississippi River the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has imagined. As Marcellinus learns more about the Mississippian mound-building culture he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the people of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats Roman and Native assail them, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.

A.D. 1250

By Lawrence W. Cheek,

Book cover of A.D. 1250: Ancient Peoples of the Southwest/Includes Indian Travel Guide & Map

I thought of maybe featuring an encyclopedia of Native American cultures for my fourth pick, but no: this is basically a big glossy coffee table book, but it provides fascinating descriptions of the many and varied prehistoric Southwestern cultures: the Anasazi, the Sinagua, and Mogollon, the Hohokam, and many other peoples and sites from Utah and Colorado down through Arizona and New Mexico into modern-day Mexico. Cities built into cliffs. Sophisticated irrigation systems helped them survive in the desertlands. Just awesome.


Who am I?

My twin passions are science and history, and I try to have it both ways by writing a mix of alternate history and hard SF. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, enjoyed lots of family vacations at Hadrian’s Wall and other Roman-rich areas, and acquired degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford, but I’ve lived in the US for over half my life and now work for NASA (studying black holes, neutron stars, and other bizarre celestial objects). My novella of a Roman invasion of ancient America, A Clash of Eagles, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and formed the starting point for my Clash of Eagles trilogy from Del Rey, and Hot Moon, my alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, will be published by CAEZIK SF & Fantasy in 2022.


I wrote...

Clash of Eagles: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book I

By Alan Smale,

Book cover of Clash of Eagles: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book I

What is my book about?

The Roman Empire has survived in its classical form until 1218 AD, and has now discovered North America. Transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean to Nova Hesperia, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors.

Gaius Marcellinus and his 33rd Legion expect easy victories over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of the Mississippi River the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has imagined. As Marcellinus learns more about the Mississippian mound-building culture he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the people of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats Roman and Native assail them, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.

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