Book notes

Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor

The Cave Paintings of Baja California.

By Harry W. Crosby. Revised Edition. San Diego: Copley Books. 1984, Maps. Photographs. Illustrations. Glossary. Bibliography. Index. 189 Pages. $27.50.

Indian cave paintings are of incalculable importance to anthropologists and historians for understanding Indian history, culture and values. They bring joy to many as works of art and expressions of the human spirit. For reasons unknown to this reviewer, probably the largest number of Indian paintings known to exist are in Baja California. San Diego free lance writer and Mexicanologist, Harry W. Crosby has, on foot and on beast, covered much of Baja California in pursuit of those caves and their paintings, The results of his searches were published in 1975 by Copley Books as The Cave Paintings of Baja California: The Great Murals of an Unknown People.

Marked by excellent full page color photographs by the author and illustrations by his wife, Joanne Haskell Crosby, and a delightful text describing Crosby’s adventures and his findings, the book has long been one of Copley Books’ most highly regarded titles. They have now published a revised edition with some new photographs and with updating of the text. The Cave Paintings of Baia California continues to be a delight to read as Crosby skillfully conveys to his readers his excitement as he searches for and finds the caves and their paintings. It also continues to be a major contribution to scholarship of rock art, and as more and more of the cave paintings are destroyed by weather and tourists, will become even more valuable as a permanent record of the paintings.