The Broken Circle: A True Story of Murder and Magic in Indian Country

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Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1992 - Social Science - 367 pages
5 Reviews
The Broken Circle is a true story of murder and magic in Indian country, by Rodney Barker, author of the widely acclaimed The Hiroshima Maidens.
A fitting companion to such major works as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, his book is also a first-rate true crime story. In riveting, story-telling fashion it presents a dramatic account of the torture-murder of three Navajo Indians by a thrill-seeking group of white teenagers that looses ethnic furies in a town bordering the Navajo Reservation in the American Southwest. But what starts out as a story of white crimes and their social repercussions soon becomes a tale of red justice, as Navajo militants attempt to put the town itself on trial, and traditional tribal members seek revenge through the secret practice of Navajo witchcraft....
Writing with candor and sensitivity to conflicting cultural perspectives, Barker shows, in harsh and fascinating detail, the realities of contemporary Indian life through the eyes of those who are victims of white racism, as well as the militants who are willing to give up their lives to reverse a long history of injustice and oppression. He also introduces us to the mysterious world of Navajo sorcery, where mystical powers are invoked to settle and balance earthly grievances.
Even as he follows the effect of a disturbing crime and its fragmenting aftermath on the citizens and officials of a deeply conservative community, Barker takes us into the minds of juvenile mass murderers, tracing out the unpredictable and astonishing consequences of their sadistic actions.
The Broken Circle is an illuminating work of contemporary history that, in its own way, brilliantly succeeds in revealing both sides of a dramatic conflict, a turning point in the struggle of Native Americans to reassert their rights, their lives and their ancient traditions.

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Review: The Broken Circle

User Review  - Nancy - Goodreads

An interesting story of true crime and the witchcraft that balanced the scales. Read full review

Review: The Broken Circle

User Review  - Jerome Peterson - Goodreads

A gripping true crime story! Set in New Mexico in 1974 this story will definitely set you to a thinking about hate crimes and how horrible and senseless they are. Read full review


Death in the Desert
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About the author (1992)

Rodney Barker is Reader in Government at the London School of Economics.

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