One Smart Indian


"Robert Seidman's novel is one of the classics in its field. It shouldn't be missed."
–Tony Hillerman, author

"One Smart Indian is an astonishing act of empathy, imagination on a rampage. It is enthusiastic. Numbers, measurements, footfalls, particularities, gnashings – all have emotional weight and rain, a drumbeat, a quality of caring. Fathers and sons do their best. Animism, ritual, exercise, courtship and honor have their magical uses. Someone has taken the trouble to write a novel that is interesting without being cheap."
–John Leonard, New York Times

"One Smart Indian is about worlds in conflict. The book's chief virtue is the matter-of-fact tone that Seidman brings to his descriptions of American Indian life. So we are almost as wrenched as Tumbling Hawk is when he is captured and 'civilized' into Thomas Hyde. Seidman makes it work. His rediscovery of the old truths is as thrilling, in a novel full of more obvious excitements, as it is doomed, in a novel permeated by the sight and scent of death."
–Geoffrey Stokes, Village Voice

"Tumbling Hawk's defeat as pre-written by history. Seidman looks closely at both white and Indians societies and comes up with penetrating criticisms of each. He never claims the boundaries between right and wrong, or strong and weak, are easy to define. He backs you into a corner until you're not sure whom you're rooting for."
–Carol A. Foote, Los Angeles Times

Selected Works

A review of Seidman's "Moments Captured" that appeared in "Curled Up with a Good Book" in early December 2012
There are indelible characters, both historical and fictional: the tireless experimenter Muybridge; the impassioned feminist Holly Hughes, a gifted dancer and strong-minded feminist; Denise Faveraux, Holly’s friend and sometime companion, a prostitute with a fast ironic mind and the hard-won knowledge of how to protect herself from the profession’s worst nightmare, disease; Leland Stanford, the master builder California ex-Governor whose transcontinental ambitions conflict with Holly’s commitment to female equality; Jacques Fauconier, the flamboyant self-assured French sometime lover of Holly; Samuel Montague, the ingenious chief engineer of the Central Pacific who provides Muybridge with the decisive element in his quest to capture the trotting horse; Collis Ward, Stanford’s sneaky snaky assistant; Thomas Alva Edison, the brilliant inventor/promoter who cleverly cashes in on Muybridge’s motion picture project. There are cameo appearances by historical/fictional individuals, including the photographer Matthew Brady, the painter Jean-Leon Gerome and Walt Whitman. A teeming, multitudinous canvas, as crammed with life and conflict as the Gilded Age itself.
"One Smart Indian is an astonishing act of empathy."
–John Leonard, New York Times
Positive reviews extolled the novel's ability to combine compelling mystery with a fascinating story about a young couple's relationship and class in America.
A timeless annotation of the greatest novel of the 20th century, James Joyce's Ulysses. Why read Joyce's great novel without this indispensable guide?

Quick Links

Find Authors