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A young trainee anthropologist leaves her violent Mafia-run hometown—Youngstown, Ohio—to study an "exotic" group, the Paiute Indians of Nevada. This is 1964; she'll be "the expert," and they'll be "the subjects." The Paiute elders have other ideas. They'll be "the parents." They set themselves two tasks: to help her get a good grade on her project and to send her home quickly to her new bridegroom. They dismiss her research topic and introduce her instead to their spirit creature, the outrageously mischievous rule-breaking trickster, Coyote.
Why do the Paiutes love Coyote? Why do Youngstown mill workers vote for Mafia candidates for municipal office? Tricksters become key to understanding how oppressed groups function in a hostile world.
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