Edward S. Curtis nearly starved to death as a child and a young man yet still managed to move his family to San Francisco as it was booming. He joined another photographer who was already in business and made their studio the most successful in the city. His brother joined them and they both began artistic pursuits. The brother set about documenting the construction of San Francisco as we know it today. Edward was compelled to go East to document the last Native civilizations existing in America. He spent thirty years photographing these disappearing and dying tribes. This Taschen book is a complete collection of portfolios published in his lifetime. It is so very beautiful and simultaneously a heartbreak to become a witness to not just one but hundreds of genocides. Buy it anyway. This is not the kind of book you will sit and read cover to cover. It is too vast and the many varied faces too complex and unfamiliar to be absorbed that way. It is a book you live with, a very unsettling document that will have you asking yourself exactly who is being erased by greed and cultural conceitedness in our own time. I found myself reexamining Orwellian terms like "conflict minerals."