The Education of Little Tree
by Forrest Carter

A book to compare with the best of Mark Twain. A half-breed, 5-year-old Cherokee boy lives with his Cherokee grandparents in the Blue Ridge Mountains after his parents die. He tells the story of his life with them to the age if 9 when they die. It is not credible that he could remember so much of his early childhood. It is full of Indian mysticism, animism, and New-Age-style clap-trap, but if you think of the lessons his grandparents teach him as fairy tales or Aesop-like fables, the lessons are suitable for a child, and they compare favorably with Bible stories.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny in many places, and I was moved to tears at the end when the old folks die. It has a strong libertarian/anarchist theme. The grandpa teaches him that politicians are evil and that evil almost always has politicians behind it somewhere. It is a great book despite then nature-loving animism of the Indian mythology.

The book purports to be an autobiography, but I looked up Forrest Carter on the Internet and found out he was a white segregationist who was a leader in the KKK and wrote speeches for George Wallace on racial segregation. Reviewers of this book who knew Carter was a racist find the book to be racist, as if everything a racist does must be motivated by racial hatred. This is absurd. The book portrays the Cherokees as wonderful people. There is one Jew in the book, and he is treated as a good man and a friend of the heroes. The white racists in the book are depicted as ignorant and narrow-minded. The liberal critics of the book damn it for containing stereotypes of the Cherokees, the fact that the stereotypes are favorable does not mitigate his sin. There is no pleasing these idiots. It is as if they are opposed to stereotypes per se. If it is forbidden to attribute any characteristics whatsoever to groups such as Cherokees, then the group has no identity and cannot even be said to exist. If they donít exist, they cannot ever be mistreated or discriminated against, which undercuts the liberal claim that racism is a problem.

Year Read: 2004

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