Going wild

Ishi was known as the “last wild Indian” in California. A Yahi, native to the area north of Chico near what is now Lassen National Park, he avoided contact with whites until 1911. Upon entering “civilization,” he met anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, and they proceeded to educate each other about what it means to be “civilized.” Wild Men: Ishi and Kroeber in the Wilderness of Modern America is about the relationship between these two men who developed a deep and mutual friendship. Douglas Cazaux Sackman uses a detailed, narrative style that brings to life the destruction of native people that accompanied the “civilization” of Northern California, and the book is full of historical photographs. A great deal of this history happened in our own backyard, and Sackman knows it well. Wild Men is an intensely readable and necessary book about the relationship between the wild and the domestic, the natural and the civilized.