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Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) (Exceptional Social Studies Title for Intermediate Grades) - Sally M. Walker, Douglas W. Owsley A remarkable book from Lerner. Lerner's history involves a 1959 start with their main imprint which became best known for its photo-based nonfiction series books. This imprint, CarolRhoda, has been around almost just as long (1969) but focuses on individual picturebooks of both nonfiction and fiction, instead of series books. They also own Millbrook since 2004, which has both some interesting series and some great stand-alone books.

The production of this book screamed National Geographic. The organization, voice, and graphic design choices are all familiar from NG--not just NG books, but also magazines. The thoroughness of the reporting in the text was extremely pleasing, and especially the fact that understanding Kennewick Man depends on understanding (or invites understanding) of other PaleoAmerican finds.

One of the strange things about this book was that Doug Owsley is featured regularly in the text in the third person, even though he has credit as one of the main authors. I always find it archaic 'official' style when an author tries to claim this kind of detachment--it's a scientific, pseudo-objective affectation. In a popular nonfiction book, it is not inappropriate anymore for the authors to use the "I" voice.

I remember hearing about this on the news in 1996 and having some of my sciency friends pooh-pooh it because of how many non-Asian human remains had been proven incorrectly dated. I hear a lot about this in the Mormon community, because so many amateur historians and archaeologists want to find some kind of hard proof for Book of Mormon claims. But this story seems to float on its scientific merit without a lot of the other hullaballoo. However, it is nice to see that the land bridge argument is no longer exclusive--it was just about the only theory you could get scientists to talk about up into the 1990s.

While I've read a lot of books with dark themes, the sheer volume of actual skulls and bones in this book and the direct and plain discussions of death, burials, controversy over Native American ownership, and other content gave this a truly dark feel for me and not just the 'shock' of some other titles ([b:Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead|13773362|Zombie Makers True Stories of Nature's Undead|Rebecca L. Johnson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1338690997s/13773362.jpg|19407094]).