The prologue says:
Around A.D. 1300, the semiarid Four Corners region of the American Southwest, where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico join, the ancient culture of the Anasazi simply vanished. The Anasazi people, who had flourished in the region for hundreds of years, abandoned their communities and centers of commerce and ceremony.That idea that the people who lived there 'vanished' permeates the book. We did not, however, 'vanish.'
Why did they leave? Where did they go? [...] The mysteries remain, and sciences are unsure what happened.
We (remember--I'm Pueblo) have always known that our history extends to Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, and similar sites, and today, the National Park Service uses Ancestral Pueblos rather than "Anasazi."
One thing that puzzles me...
In the Author's Note, Lourie writes "The term Anasazi refers to the ancient Puebloan people" and that archaeologists now use the phrase "Ancient Puebloan People, which more accurately describes the vanished culture and connects these ancients to their living descendants" (p. 4).
So--he knew about the connection! Why did he stick with the vanishing theme?