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of others—film stars, beats, hippies, valley gangs, Glendale school girls, Zen plumbers. The stereotypes form and crash like waves at Bodega Bay. ROBERT S. HUGHES,JR. University ofHawaii Czech Voices:Storiesfrom Texasin //¿«Amerikan Narodni Kalendar. Translated and edited by Clinton Machaan and James W. Mendle, Jr. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991. 147 pages, $18.95.) Willa Cather made the experiences ofCzechs in Nebraska world-famous in her fiction. Now, in Czech Voices, the editors provide information about nine­ teenth-century Czech immigrants in Texas. The ten short autobiographies included were selected from a large number first published periodically in the national Czech language almanac, Amerikan Narodni Kalendar. While they illustrate the unique experiences of Czechs in a small area of Texas, the stories mirror those of their countrymen and women who settled in Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, and elsewhere, with the exception ofthe difficulties encountered by the Texas Czechs during the Civil War. Because most of these people came to Texas in the 1850s, their histories reveal a little-known aspect of thatwar, the harassment immigrants experienced at the hands of a desperate Confederacy. The Czechs had come to escape poverty, political upheavals, and religious persecution in Europe, only to find it in Texas. Nine of the selections are individual histories; the final essay, byjournalist L.W. Dongres, is closer to an overview of the history of the Texas Czechs, including a brief description of the turmoil that Central Europe experienced in the mid 1800s, and the details about the three major ethnic groups that today are classed as Czechs—Moravians, Bohemians, and Slovaks. Although protestants and free thinkers often speak of religious persecution in Europe, the major reasons for migration seem to be economic or political. The book is handsome, with print plates at each chapter heading, evidently taken from covers ofthe AmerikanNarodniKalendar. A photograph accompanies each life story. Introduction, informational notes, bibliography, and index are included. For those not familiar with Texas geography or hazy about mid-nineteenthcentury turmoil in Europe, maps ofrelevant areas would have been most useful. More serious, however, is the lack of information about the women who were also part of these experiences. Only one woman’s words are included, in the joint account ofJosef and TerezieJirasek. The original series from which these pieces were selected, published first in the late 1800s and early 1900s, may not have included any by women, but one is aware of the relatively few general statements about women’s contributions. 364 WesternAmerican Literature Reviews 365 The book is successful in its intent: to personalize the universal experiences that immigrants so often faced, wherever they settled, at least in the rural Midwest: unsuspected problems with weather, land, and farm practices; con­ cern with language; chicanery practiced on the naive by the unscrupulous; unexpected generosity and concern by others who wanted to help the newcom­ ers; conflicts as they tried to adjust to local customs and the “American” ways while trying to maintain their own. These issues confronted immigrants whether they came to Texas or North Dakota, whether they were Czech, Norwegian, German, or Russian. But the life stories here remind the reader that those universal experiences happened to individuals. HELEN WINTER STAUFFER ProfessorEmerita, University ofNebraska at Kearney Haa TuwunaaguYis, for Healing Our Spirit: Tlingit Oratory. Edited by Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991. 514 pages, $35.00/$17.50.) Despite longstanding European interest in native North American ora­ tory—dating from the 1600s when Jesuits in New France recorded speeches from the “sauvages”whom they hoped to convert, few treatments of the subject compare favorably with this volume, the second in a series on the oral literature of the TIingits of southeastern Alaska edited by Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer. The editors begin by introducing the group’s social structure and the important concept of at.oow, the “possessions”which anchor the culture. Then they describe contexts for oratory and use a detailed presentation of koo.eex’, a memorial service conducted a year after someone’s death, to exemplify how speechmaking operates in context. Literary analyses, data on spirituality, and comparison of Tlingit oratory to speechmaking in other Indian cultures com...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 364-365
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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