More than any other continent, South America "has preserved the conditions that allow mythology to be freely produced." Dividing the continent into seven carefully mapped regions, John Bierhorst shows how South America's principal myths can be traced from tribe to tribe and how each region has developed its own unique oral tradition. Generous samples from the stories themselves introduce the female creators of the northern Andes, the male gods of the ancient Incas, and the Brazilian tricksters Sun and Moon. Originally published in 1988, Bierhorst has updated the text to reflect the abundance of new information that has become available since the mid 80s and written a new Afterword in which he emphasizes the durability of Indian mythology. Illustrations of native artwork and chapters devoted to special topics--including the connections between myths and politics--help to provide a well-rounded overview of this fascinating and little-known lore. Detailed maps show tribal locations and the distribution of key stories and samples of differing narrative styles add enrichment, as some of the world's purest and most powerful myths are made more accessible--and more meaningful--than ever before.