In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

114BOOK REVIEWS The author makes a strong case against the assimilationist assumptions of such historians as Oscar Handlin. He emphasizes the persistence of immigrant traditions and social patterns that even World War I did not entirely eradicate. For Professor Gjerde, however, Norwegian Lutherans and German Catholics are paradigmatic of the ethnocultural configuration of the Upper Middle West. He paints a landscape of almost unrelieved stolidity, industry, and seriousness of purpose. Neglected are the Irish, and even more the Czech, Polish, and FrenchCanadian populations of the prairies and plains, often consigned by historians exclusively to the eastern proletariat. He has, nevertheless, produced a work that is rich in original insights. Thomas W Spalding, C.F.X. Spalding University Louisville, Kentucky Father PeterJohn DeSmet:Jesuit in the West. By Robert C. Carriker. [The Oklahoma Western Biographies, Volume 9·] (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 1995. Pp. xx, 266. $24.95.) Published as Volume 9 for inclusion within what seems a mistitled series known as "The Oklahoma Western Biographies," this book is described (p. xiii) by the series editor to be an "exceptionally thorough and detailed biography of Father Peter John De Smet" (the well-known pioneer and ubiquitous Jesuit priest of the nineteenth-century American frontier). Although I found the book to be neither thorough nor detailed, I do recommend it on other grounds. Namely, since historical documents are quoted without attribution, it will appeal to the many college students and casual readers who do not read footnotes or endnotes. Lacking this scholarly format, Carriker's work will cast its spell upon those who seek but a general impression of the material treated. Fortunately, preceding a helpful "Index" are four pages of a semi-annotated bibliography which offer resources wherein one might find further illumination of the text's persons and events. Researchers are thus provided commentary on the "DeSmetiana" they might wish to investigate. However, while Carriker dismisses John Killoren's "Come Blackrobe,"DeSmet and the Indian Tragedy as a biography that only "emphasizes a single aspect of DeSmet's life," I consulted Killoren's work for details and citations not found in Carriker! Moreover , I could not determine what "single aspect" he thought Killoren addressed. Besides documenting its sources, "Come Blackrobe" was more extensive in its coverage than was Jesuit in the West which, strangely enough, deserves commendation because of a brevity that general audiences probably will appreciate . While only researchers will consult Chittenden and Richardson's four-volume classic on DeSmet (1905), and while college teachers will rely on Killoren 's excellent resource,less sophisticated readers now have Carriker for easy BOOK REVIEWS115 access to a man whose life sheds light on the often-misunderstood interaction of Catholic missionaries with government personnel, Native people, and sundry other folk who met on the frontier. While some commentators offer the undiscriminating assessment that "Christian missionaries" were in league with every other non-Native profiteer or military man during this period, Carriker'sWest is more multi-dimensional. For example, his DeSmet castigates both State and Federal officials for their lax protection of Indian peoples against bootleggers. Similarly ,Jesuits are shown as not always walking lockstep with one another while "on mission." Without my prompting, a college student chose to report on Carriker's biography for a class I conducted. The student said that she was pleasantiy surprised thatJesuit in the West kept her attention. Similarly, Carriker's biography so renewed my interest in DeSmet and his era that I was moved to visit, and learn more from, Jesuit biographer Killoren—who is himself a kind of modern-day DeSmet now in residence at St. Louis University. While there, I walked turf that was well known to the nineteenth-century priest, and then concluded my journey with a prayerful pilgrimage to Florissant,where he is buried. In light of this activity, I am perhaps giving Carriker's book a pretty decent recommendation. Either that, or I am simply testifying to the appeal still cast by Peter DeSmet, one-time Jesuit in the West. Michael F. Steltenkamp, SJ. WheelingJesuit University Getting Sense: The Osages and Their Missionaries. By James D. White. (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Sarto Press. 1997. Pp. vii, 389. Paperback.) In his valuable work Getting...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 114-115
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.