• House of Rain

  • Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest
  • By: Craig Childs
  • Narrated by: Craig Childs
  • Length: 15 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (131 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In this landmark work on the Anasazi tribes of the Southwest, naturalist Craig Childs dives head-on into the mysteries of this vanished people.

The various tribes that made up the Anasazi people converged on Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) during the 11th century to create a civilization hailed as "the Las Vegas of its day", a flourishing cultural center that attracted pilgrims from far and wide, and a vital crossroads of the prehistoric world. By the 13th century, however, Chaco's vibrant community had disappeared without a trace.

Was it drought? Pestilence? War? Forced migration, mass murder, or suicide? Conflicting theories have abounded for years, capturing the North American imagination for eons.

Join Craig Childs as he draws on the latest scholarly research, as well as a lifetime of exploration in the forbidden landscapes of the American Southwest, to shed new light on this compelling mystery. He takes us from Chaco Canyon to the highlands of Mesa Verde, to the Mongollon Rim; to a contemporary Zuni community where tribal elders maintain silence about the fate of their Lost Others; and to the largely unexplored foothills of the Sierra Madre in Mexico, where abundant remnants of Anasazi culture lie yet to be uncovered.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2007 Craig Childs (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about House of Rain

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Poetic Travel Log

This is not a serious book about ancient culture in the Southwest, which is what I expected. Big disappointment, couldn’t finish it. If you’ve never been to any of these sights and don’t mind overly flowery prose, you might enjoy.

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Wonderful overview

I am admittedly an ancient sites junkie and have been to a number of the sites which the author reviews and many many others I will never see. He puts everything into perspective and tells a winding story of how all these sites relate to each other, along the way showing how some long held myths do not hold up to scrutiny. Childs never loses that sense of wonder as if he is seeing each place anew. I absolutely loved this book; listened while I worked in my studio, in the car, before going to bed.

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Fascinating information but a bit too much memoir

I started listening to this while on a road trip to visit Chaco canyon, and it was an excellent companion to my travels. Childs does a great job weaving together recent research on the ancestral Puebloan people who lived (and live) in the American southwest. It's a very good book overall & reminds me of the mindblowing history 1491, by Charles Mann. Unlike 1491, however, the history and information are frequently interrupted by literary memoir anecdotes about the author's own travels. I'm sure it's fine if you like that sort of thing, but I found myself skipping ahead frequently to return to the history & anthropology & archeology.

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Adventuring with Craig Childs

I have heard Craig Childs in person a number of times and know him to be a fascinating storyteller. Listening to him read House of Rain was like being with him on his extended, fascinating adventures. I will savor this experience for a long time.

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Very engaging

This was very intriguing. It increases my interest in the people native to the southwest. The narration was good, but could take an occasional break from the dramatic tone. It is more like field notes than a story. I would like to hear more.

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excellent

I felt like I was right along with him on his journey to his quest

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New favorite

I loved this book from start to finish! It made me so exited and inspired hearing the tales of human migration. This book was a real eye-opener. Awesome read for anyone interested in the southwest, archaeology, or the human condition.

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Finally, an interesting book on this subject!

I first read this book about ten years ago. I’ve lived in the four corners area since the 90’s but could never sort out the chronology of who lived where when or which pottery came from where, etc. All the museums were so boring and Mesa Verde tour guides could only say so much. But it all makes sense after reading this book! The stories hold my interest while educating me. Very well done. I think this is still my favorite book by Craig Childs but Apocalyptic Planet is a close second.

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Excellent content, engaging narration

This is a personal, yet scholarly narrative on the historicity of a lost people. You have to remember that this thesis, written like a love letter, is, in the end, largely the conjectures of one people— the Europeans— about another, the “Anasazi”. Craig Childs works to erase this gulf of time and culture, through long marches across the desert, as would’ve an Anasazi, a thousand years ago. Craig manages to make you get to know and love his illusion, ghostly subjects. And you become friends with him, and perhaps his infant some too.

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Amazing History, Great Writing, Poor Narration

I'm sure that this book / story / history is incredible. It certainly "ticks all the boxes" for my interests: American history, folklore, archaeology, compelling first person storytelling...but, IMO, the author isn't a great reader. Additionally, the recording seems pretty poor. I'm not usually too sensitive to audio quality, but this one sounds like it was quickly recorded at home, with low fi gear.

I'll certainly seek out the print version of this book.