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390 WesternAmerican Literature anthology gradually changes over to fiction in the selections dating from the antebellum period. The middle section dwells heavily upon urban, immigrant experiences, which might prove problematic to western literature instructors. Nevertheless, the anthology has potential as a standard text, since it samples the teeming variety of American experience. But any western literature format requires supplementing Kaleidoscope with additional works particular to the instructor’s needs. One glaring omission I will touch on is the lack of an “additional readings”section following each selection. As one who often devel­ ops reading lists from anthologies, I was disappointed by this lack. The section covering post-World War II America is particularly useful to instructors of western American literature, with the majority of selections from Asian and Native American authors, such asAmy Tan, Leslie Silko,John Okada, Louise Erdrich, and N. Scott Momaday. Though at odds with earlier accounts, these authors also address Crevecoeur’s query. At times haphazard, the anthology’sstrength is in its diversity, a geographi­ cal and cultural zigzag. The editors admit “cultural cohesiveness [can] never be whole and complete.”For Barbara and George Perkins, the magical transforma­ tion into “American” exists, though not at the expense of cultural expression. Their anthology is one such colorful expression. CATHY A. GRAY Pinhham’s Grant, New Hampshire The Masked Bobwhite Rides Again. ByJohn Alcock. (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1993. 186 pages, $35.00/$16.95.) Zoologists, particularly, will remember Alcock for his compelling Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach which has become something of a classic. Now Alcock turns his naturalist’sgaze toward the Sonoran desert ofhis adopted Arizona and the impact on that ecosystem of cattle grazing and a burgeoning human population. The book’s loose structure allows Alcock to follow his fancy and examine avariety ofsouthwestern issueswhich are not strictly related to the people/cattle debate. The result is a collection of thirty-one essays covering a broad selection of topics ranging from the author’s confession as a “cactus hugger”to a discussion of the titular quail. In between, Alcock’swriting parallels his desert “ramblings” as he ambles here and there looking for explanations for apparent diminishing saguaro populations, probing the middens of kangaroo rats, and exposing the machinations of the powerful ranching lobby and its twisted relationship with western legislators and the federal agencies which are charged with the steward­ ship ofwestern public lands. Geographically, Alcock stays fairly close to the Usery Mountains near Phoe­ nix. But as the book unfolds, much of southwestern Arizona provides the Reviews 391 terrain and text of the associated issues and topics which Alcock addresses. Among those terrains and texts are the Chiricahua Mountains and the Apaches who once called these rugged mountains home, the San Simon valley and its intertwined human and natural histories, and the area near Klondyke and a trigger happy (cougars) and trap happy (black bears) public lands rancher. Notwithstanding its prosaic title, The Masked BobwhiteRides Again is darned good reading in the tradition ofJ. W. Krutch’s best desert books—with one major exception. Unlike Krutch, Alcock is a naturalist, and it is this quality which sets this book apart from much desert writing. Yet the book is far from clinical. Alcock puts his cactus hugger’s heart as well as his scientist’s soul into his writing, and ultimately it is this mix of perspectives, this intrapersonal dialectic, which imparts a textural and textual richness to his book, a book anyone with an interest in or love for the arid lands of the Southwest should read. BILL D. TOTH WesternNew Mexico University A Match to theHeart. By Gretel Ehrlich. (New York: Pantheon, 1994. 201 pages, $21.00.) Fierce storms are a healthy reminder that—even in late twentieth-century industrial civilization—humans remain essentiallyvulnerable to the inscrutable and often devastating forces of nonhuman nature. A Match to theHeartis Gretel Ehrlich’s remarkable account of her own experience being struck by lightning. Not many people are so directly touched by the heavens: fewwho are live to tell of it, and fewer still are capable of doing so with Ehrlich’sliterary sensitivity and grace. From an initial description of her near-death experience...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 390-391
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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