Liebmann begins his introduction with a retelling of a battle between the Jemez people and the Spaniards. This draws the reader in telling them of dire portion of the battle where Jemez soldiers chose to throw themselves off of a cliff rather than surrender to the Spaniards. This battle, and the focus of Liebmann’s book, was written to put the reader into the battle. Liebmann plans to focus the paradoxes of the battle and how things changed so drastically in sixteen years. The introduction is broken down into several sections, each looking at the battle from a different angle.
The first section discusses how Native American history is generally told with two different viewpoints in mind. These two viewpoints are romance and tragedy. Romance often speaks of the colonists and their colonists where the tragedy tells of the fall of Native Americans. Sometimes, history can be told with both views. Stories can begin with romance as the Native try to fight the colonists, but they turn to tragedy when they fail. However, Liebmann states that he plan to try and avoid those two views as much as possible and instead to at the stories in a different way.
The next sections talks about the history of the Pueblo Revolt. Not the history of the event itself, but the history and how and when it was studied. Until recently the Pueblo revolt was largely under-researched. The Pueblo people did not keep written records of their history. Because of this, the historical writings regarding the revolt can be very one sided. Liebmann mentions that he will be using evidence beyond that of written recounts from the Spaniards. He will also be looking at archaeological and anthropological evidence of this event to provide a wider evidence base and enhance his interpretation. In this section, Liebmann also discusses the framework of his argument. This includes effect of material culture and the enhance of the argument by using anthropological sources.
In the section section, he dives deeper in the analysis of the revolt using anthropological research. Liebmann hopes to add a deeper understand to the Pueblo Revolt that was not there in other works on this topic. He believes that the anthropological approach allows historians to understand “alien” aspects of the event, explain the different things that happened and to try and find reasons for why they did. He states that you cannot rely on “common sense” to tell what people did things, you have analyze the time and place in which the event to try and have an understanding of the event. However, he also notes that it in impossible to give a perfect interpretation of history, the goal is to be as accurate as possible by using anthropology.
In the next section, Liebmann discusses subalterns. Lower level group of people who are very underrepresented in history. Historians aimed to give a voice to the subalterns in history as they are a vital part of the story. He also discusses the importance of analyzing material culture when talking about the revolt through archaeology. However, there are some historians who doubt the legitimacy of this type of study. They state that subalterns cannot be included because subalterns are not represented in text. Despite this arguments, Liebmann believes that archaeology can be a very useful tool in analyzing history, especially when there is not writings from the people. Liebmann’s second argument is cultural revitalization which occurred during the revolt. The third roles is the role of signs and systems within history.
Liebmann then discusses the second part if his book, which is more focused than his first, discuss a specific area, Jemez. He is especially please with the archaeological evidence from that area because their has been few towns there withing the last few years and there is a lot of information to work with. He briefly discusses had archaeology was once viewed as a dying field. The field was also seen as unfavorable because of how the land of the people being studied was treated. To try and alleviate the fears of the Jemez people, Liebmann agreed to be completely noninvasive. He did not dig up graves or disturb the earth to get the evidence for his book. This was possible because the surface and history of the site allowed him to do so. He states that while it is important to note that surface analysis can be done, it does not mean it’ s complete right and representative of the true ground beneath the surface.
He ends by saying how he organized the book. He starts with Pueblos roots and then moves on to Pueblo independence. He then moves on to what each section discusses and what he analyses. Liebmann studied the Pueblo war on Jemez through an anthropological lens and subaltern viewpoint, creating a very unique perspective on this event that is not seen in many other books on this topic.