First Review — The Wolf at Twilight and an abbreviated rant on Obama’s unfathomable behavior

I’m resisting writing a blog about Obama as health care’s Neville Chamberlain (”We have health care in our time”), primarily because I can’t believe a man so smart can be so naive as to let this one great chance at health care reform in America slip through his grasp.

I have half-baked theories about his bi-racialism fostering an innate sense of compromise, and larger conspiratorial fears, fostered by my more wing-nut friends, about greater forces than we know forcing decisions upon even our most visionary politicians. But I don’t trust any of these thoughts. They are simply the product of an utter stunned disbelief that the Democrats and Obama would roll over in the face of the moral bankruptcy and outright political criminality of the Republicans and Blue Dogs, and allow a too-gullible American public to be manipulated by craven, disingenuous, politically bought-and-paid-for minions of corporate interests.

So, I resist. Maybe Obama is smarter by a factor of ten than I am, and that he’s playing political “rope a dope.” I have to hope so, and while I entertain this faint hope I will keep my silence regarding my great and bottomless disappointment at what appears to be a policy of appeasement that ranks with the greatest political miscalculations in recent memory.

Perhaps I’ll write more on this as the situation progresses. My hope, however, is that he’ll prove me wrong. All I know for certain is that he allowed the opponents, who are some of the most venal politicians I have seen in my lifetime, to define the issue as one of “public option”, when the real issue is affordable health care for all. It is, as I said before, a fist fight in a closet while the house is burning down.

But, enough. I’m depressing myself just thinking about it. Let’s move on to something more pleasant and exciting.

That “something” is the imminent release of The Wolf at Twilight and the strong support it has already received from many people in the Native community for whom I have the greatest respect. In a few days my new website will be active, and you’ll be able to read many of these comments for yourself. I’ll send out a note when it finally goes on line. But, until then, I thought I’d share the first review we’ve received. It is from Foreword Reviews, which I have been informed is a core source used by librarians and independent booksellers.

Here it is. Enjoy:

The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian

Elder’s Journey Through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows

Kent Nerburn

New World Library

Softcover, $14.95 (344pp)


Kent Nerburn’s latest book, The Wolf at Twilight, is a combination of memoir, historical narrative, and spiritual reflection that showcases his innate flair for storytelling. In response to a summons from Dan, a tribal elder, Nerburn returns to the Lakota reservation that provided the landscape for his previous book, Neither Wolf nor Dog. Dan wants Nerburn’s help in finding his sister, Yellow Bird, who was lost nearly 75 years earlier to the U.S. Indian re-education programs. Dan and Nerburn embark on an unsettling journey into a part of the past that has long been relegated to the shadows of the American conscience.

Nerburn’s access to this history is one of the chief strengths of this book. From the 1870s through the 1940s (and beyond) Native American children were separated from their families and sent to federally funded boarding schools whose mission it was to strip Indian language, spirituality, and culture from the children. Former students are increasingly telling of their experiences of malnourishment, overwork, and brutality at the hands of the government and church, and the study of these schools has become one of the most active areas of American Indian historical study. In The Wolf at Twilight, the memories and experiences of Dan and his family give the reader a glimpse of this history and its impact on individuals.

It would be tempting for Nerburn to report this information from the detached and authoritative role of the observer. He successfully shrugs off the role of journalist, however. Nerburn is just as comfortable writing about his own connection to the fraught relations between White America and Native America as he is Dan’s. It is precisely his connection with the people and places in his book that gives his writing resonance. The Wolf at Twilight is a wonderful read for any reader who wants to learn more of our national history, who longs to connect to spirituality, or who simply wants to read a story told from the heart. (November) Lizzy Shramko

Remember, you can pre-order an autographed copy of The Wolf at Twilight by going to I’m very proud of this book and very excited to share it with you.

Technorati : boarding schools, historical trauma, native american, wolf at twilight

5 thoughts on “First Review — The Wolf at Twilight and an abbreviated rant on Obama’s unfathomable behavior”

  1. Kent, this is a test comment to make sure the comment system is working as well as my saying I cannot wait to read the new book! I am very excited. I have my mom reading Neither Wolf Nor Dog right now and she simply cannot put it down.

  2. I can’t wait to read it. I have assisted Native Americans in healing frm the trauma of Boarding Schools, and it has touche my heart deeply.

  3. The best part of this whole wonderful adventure with “The Wolf at Twilight” is that the Kent I see with my Native friends, is the Nerburn I know in the book.
    The book is genuinely an American masterpiece and I have no credentials to back that up except when I was really young, I read “Travels with Charlie” by John Steinbeck and Camus’ “The Stranger” and I thought they were both good books.
    If you want, I could send a quick note to Oprah to make sure you get the book on her book club.

  4. Kent, First let me say that I have admired your books for over ten years now. Tomorrow I’m going to start reading your book: The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian. Neither Wolf Nor Dog is one of my favorite books especially when you describe the Wounded Knee massacre site. I’ve had an extremely spiritual experience there myself. I’ve always been able to relate to your adventures and your words have become conversation, so thank you.

    Anyway I wanted to let you know that I’ve read your blogs from time to time especially during the last election. Kent, not that we have to agree politically for me to want to read and enjoy your work but when someone like you who writes about the past and about the natives of American soil, I hoped that you understood the brainwashing, unchangeable power of American government. There isn’t a better example of corruption within government control then that of the Native American stories. Unfortunately these stories are the roots within our soul. Democrats and Republicans are the same as are Bush and Obama. You wrote it best in Neither Wolf Nor Dog: “’There are leaders and there are rulers. We Indians are used to leaders. When our leaders don’t lead, we walk away from them. When they lead well, we stay with them. White people never understood this. Your system makes rulers by laws, even if they are not leaders. We have had to accept your way, because you made us Indians form constitutions and governments. But we don’t like it and we don’t think it’s right. How can a calendar tell us how long a person is a leader? That’s crazy. A leader is a leader as long as the people believe in him and as long as he is the best person to lead us. You can only lead as long as the people will follow.’”

    I hope you take this with respect. I’ve always admired your work, I just could not resist questioning your admiration for fools.

  5. Someone I work with visits your blog quite often and recommended it to me to read as well. The writing style is great and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

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