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Nonfiction Books

In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove

By honestly describing her difficult and gradual acceptance into the daily life of a rural West African community--a world of herders, potter, subsistence farmers, diviners, and initiates--Carol Spindel renders a foreign culture with exceptional immediacy and emotional depth.

Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots

Sports fans love to don paint and feathers to cheer on the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, the Florida State Seminoles, and the Warriors and Chiefs of their hometown high schools. But outside the stadiums, American Indians aren't cheering--they're yelling racism.

Dancing at Halftime is Carol Spindel's attempt to understand why sports fans, including those in her own town, identify so strongly with American Indian-based team mascots. The quest takes her across the country and into the past to examine Boy Scout handbooks, Wild West show posters, and the beginnings of football. A work of both persuasion and compassion, Dancing at Halftime reminds us that in America, where Pontiac is a car and Tecumseh a summer camp, Indians are often our symbolic servants, functioning as mascots and metaphors that express our longings to become "native" Americans, and to feel at home in our own land.