A comprehensive and fascinating account of the graceful Algonquin civilization that once flourished in the area that is now New York.
Those curious about the origin of native place-names dotting New York City and its environs will discover a wealth of information in Pritchard's compendium about its original inhabitants. A historian and linguist, Pritchard sketches verbal tours that amble about Manhattan, Long Island, and the Hudson River Valley, explaining the meaning of hundreds of names, such as the Shawangunk Mountains: "the place where you go south." Contrasting a location's present look with its bucolic past often prompts Pritchard to delve into a spectrum of topics: the local network of trails and ferry crossings; the peoples so connected and their items of trade; and the nature of Lenape--the general name for the Algonquin groups of the area--civilization. This latter interest leads him to relate factual material, such as the Lenape's diet, but especially their spiritual outlook as captured in oral history and dream visions, including his own. Folding in European colonization and the subsequent dispersal of the Lenape, this work,although loosely organized, is an intriguing palimpsest of the world still readable amid the modern city.