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Indians of the Plains by Eugene Rachlis in consultation with John Ewers (Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institute), is a book about the North American Indians of the Great Plains. This is a revue, profile and price guide of this educational book which charts the history and cultures of the Plains Indians and the Great Plains between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.
Indians of the Plains was published by the American Heritage Junior Library

About the Book: Indians of the Plains with text by Eugene Rachlis

Indians of the Plains by Eugene Rachlis in consultation with John Ewers (Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institute), is a book about the North American Indians of the Great Plains.

The home for these indigenous people was the expansive grasslands between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, where their history and culture had evolved over thousands of years. The incumbent tribes of the Plains resisted the expansion of white man's "civilisation" for hundreds of years: But this expansion culminated in the Plains Wars, which were raged between 1854 and 1879. The Indians proved to be fearless warriors and despite their relatively primitive nature, were able to keep the might and military expertise of America at bay for the best part of twenty-five years. Indeed, pockets of Indian resistance continued to be encountered by the Americans into the 1880s.

Indians of the Plains examines the cultural history (including hunting, warfare, camp life and religious ceremonies) of the Plains Indians and their often uneasy relationship with white men leading up to the Plains Wars. Although written as part of the American Heritage Junior Library, the book is clearly aimed at older children. As an adult, I nevertheless found it a good read. It is the second book of the Junior Library Series, the first having been The Story of Yankee Whaling.

I daresay an account of the Plains Indians told by one of their own, might well differ considerably from the one told in this book. The author has the good grace to recognise some of the wrongs committed by the "civilised" white man and he shows the gradual expansion of white culture which led to the wars. Some of the illustrations are superb, including reproductions of paintings by Jon Mix Stanley, Frederic Remington, George Catlin, Carl Bodmer, Paul Kane and numerous other illustrious artists. Illustrations adorn most pages: As well as the paintings there are drawings and photos of artefacts, scenes and the personalities who form a part of this historical account.

Indians of the Plains, Contents:

  • The Trackless Land
    • Indians of Prehistory
    • The Great Plains
  • Red Men On Horseback
  • Indian Cattle
  • The Life of the Wanderer
    • Tribal Law
    • Sign Language and Picture Writing
    • Indian Sports and Pastimes
    • Life of an Indian Brave
    • Arts of the Plains Indian
    • Life of an Indian Woman
  • Tomahawks and Scalping Knives
  • Good Medicine
  • The Coming of the White Man
    • Mountain Men
    • Early Missionaries
  • Treaty and Trouble
    • Covered Wagons on the Plains
    • Spanning a Continent
  • Massacre in Minnesota
  • Black Kettle and Red Cloud
    • The Iron Horse and the Whispering Wires
    • Prospecting for Gold
  • On the Warpath
  • Custer's Last Stand
  • The Last Ghost
    • Cattle and Barbed Wire
  • Men and Myths
  • Picture Credits
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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How to Identify a Book Edition

"Ceremony of the Scalps" from a painting by Frederic Remington

About the Illustrations: 

Indians of the Plains is an extensively illustrated book. Full credits are included towards the rear of the book and are too vast to reproduce here. The following is a list of picture sources:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • C.R. Smith Collection
  • Library of Congress
  • Kennedy Galleries
  • Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art
  • Harper's Weekly
  • Museum of the American Indian
  • Minnesota Historical Society
  • National Archives
  • New York Public Library
  • Peabody Museum, Harvard University (photos by Barney Burstein)
  • State Historical Society of Colorado
  • Smithsonian Institution (photos by Stanley Manzer
  • Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology
  • Royal Ontario Museum, Canada
  • West Point Museum Collections

About the Publisher: American Heritage Publishing Co.

The American Heritage Publishing Company was based in New York at the time of publication of this book. It is now based in Rockville, Maryland.

Founded in 1949, American Heritage is a magazine with a clear focus on well written historical articles aimed at the general public. The magazine evolved from American Heritage: A Journal of Community History, which was published from 1947 to 1949. It was the in-house journal of the American Association for State and Local History. The magazine is still published today as a digital quarterly publication, after a four-year hiatus between the suspension of the printed format in 2013 and the resumption in digital format in 2017.

In addition to this important magazine, the company has also published over three hundred books, including e-books.

American Heritage Publishing Co. Select Bibliography:

With a back-catalogue of over three-hundred books, the following includes some of the highlights of the books published by the American Heritage Publishing Company, over the period of three decades:

  • 1957 The American Heritage Book of Great Historic Places by Richard M. Ketchum with an introduction by Bruce Catton
  • 1958 The American Heritage Book of the Revolution by Richard M. Ketchum
  • 1961 Pirates of the Spanish Main by Hamilton Cochran
  • 1964 Four Days: The Historical Record of the Death of President Kennedy by Bruce Catton
  • 1964 Horizon: Kipling's India by Rudyard Kipling
  • 1964 The Horizon History of Christianity edited by Marshall B. Davidson
  • 1966 The Original Water-Color Paintings for the Birds of America by John James Audubon
  • 1973 Will Rogers The Man and His Times by Richard M. Ketchum
  • 1974 The Poster in History: With an Essay on the Development of Poster Art by Max Gallo
  • 1974 The American Heritage Century Collection of Civil War Art edited by Stephen W. Sears
  • 1974 The World of George Washington by Richard Ketchum
  • 1975 The Age of Napoleon by J. Christopher Herold
  • 1975 The American Heritage History of Railroads in America by Oliver Jensen
  • 1976 A Pictorial History of Architecture In America edited by G.E. Kidder Smith and Marshall B. Davidson
  • 1979 Discovery of Lost Worlds by Joseph J. Thorndike Jr.
  • 1981 Three Centuries of Notable American Architects by Joseph J. Thorndike Jr and Vincent Scully
  • 1995 Implications of Racism for Social Work compiled by Cheryl Hyde
  • 1997 American Abundance: The New Economic & Moral Prosperity by Lawrence Kudlow

Text by Eugene Rachlis

About the Author: Eugene Rachlis

Eugene Rachlis (1920-1986) was an American writer, editor and publisher. He was married to Mickey Rachlis (Mary Katherine), also a writer. She often used the pseudonym M.K. Sharp, particularly for her work with the Journal of Commerce, for whom she was the economics correspondent. The couple had two sons one of whom, Christopher Rachlis (known as Kit), is also a well-known journalist and editor.

Eugene Rachlis wrote numerous books and contributed articles to national magazines. He also worked as an editor:

  • During the Second World War he worked as a journalist
  • In the aftermath of the war, between 1948 and 1952, he worked in France as a press attache for the Marshall Plan. This was an American led initiative to aid the economies of Europe in their recovery from the war years
  • He went on to become editor-in-chief for Prentice Hall's trade book department. During his time here he published Ralph G. Martin's biography of Winston Churchill's mother: Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill
  • From 1971 to 1979 he was editor-in-chief and publisher for Bobbs Merrill
  • He also spent time as a senior editor for the New York Times Magazine, managing editor of Womans Home Companion and the articles editor of Collier's

The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Centre holds manuscripts for a number of Rachlis books, correspondence, printed copies of his work, book reviews and research material compiled by the author.

Eugene Rachlis, Author’s Bibliography:

  • 1959 Horses, A Golden Stamp Book, 1st edition published in the USA by Golden Press Inc
  • 1959 Peter Stuyvevesant and His New York: A Biography of a Man and a City, written in conjunction with Harry H. Kessler, 1st edition published in the USA by Random House
  • 1960 Indians of the Plains, 1st edition published in the USA by American Heritage Publishing Co.
  • 1961 They Came to Kill: The True Story of 8 Nazi Saboteurs in America, 1st edition published in the USA by Random House
  • 1961 Early Automobiles: The Story of Horseless Carriages from the Clock-Spring Car of 1649 to Henry Ford's Model T, 1st edition published in the USA by Golden Press
  • 1961 The Story of the US Coast Guard, 1st edition published in the USA by Random House
  • 1962 Life, The Epic of Man (for young readers), written in collaboration with Lincoln Barnett, 1st edition published in the USA by Golden Press
  • 1962 The Voyages of Henry Hudson, 1st edition published in the USA by Random House
  • 1963 The Land Lords, An Informal History - from Astor to Zeckendorf - of the Men Whose Adventures in Real Estate Changed the Face of America, written in collaboration with John E. Marqusee, 1st edition published in the USA by Random House
  • 1963 Life World Library: The Low Countries, 1st edition published in the USA by Time Inc.
  • 1965 Over 50 United States, 1st edition published in the USA by Golden Press
  • 1965 They Came to Kill, 1st edition published in the USA by Mayflower
  • 1965 Question and Answer Adventures: Horses, 1st edition published in the USA by Golden Press
  • 1965 Benelux, 1st edition published in Italy by Club Delgi Editori (also published for Time Life in several other languages during the following years)
  • 1968 The Knife is not Enough, written in collaboration with Henry H. Kessler, 1st edition published in the USA by W. W. Norton and Company
  • 1986 The Complete Book of Bible Quotations, edited in conjunction with Mark Levine), 1st edition published in the USA by Pocket Books

An extensively illustrated book, Indians of the Plains includes photographic illustrations, drawings and paintings

Physical Outline: Indians of the Plains

  • Title: Indians of the Plains
  • Series: American Heritage Junior Library
  • L.C.C.C. Number: 60-6402
  • Author: Eugene Rachlis in consultation with John C. Ewers
  • Published by American Heritage Publishing Co, 1st edition, 1960
  • Format: A hardcover book with its original dust jacket
  • Pages: 153, detailed text, extensively illustrated paintings, prints and drawing
  • Size Approx: 188x262mm
  • Approx weight: 734g

Estimated Book Value:

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

Indians of the Plains by Eugene Rachlis, estimated value of the pictured copy, a first edition, which is in good condition in a fair dust jacket, £12

Estimated value of the same book in fine condition with a fine dust jacket, £32

"Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show, c1883

External Links:

(opens in a new window)

Frederic Remington

Buffalo Bill

Smithsonian Institution

The Plains Wars

George Catlin

American Museum of Natural History

Library of Congress

Peabody Museum

American Association for State and Local History

American Heritage Magazine

John James Audubon

The Journal of Commerce

The Marshall Plan

Bobbs Merrill

Ralph Martin

Prentice Hall

Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Centre