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Reviews 227 The editorial hand makes its third and last overt appearance in the bibliography of the writings of Mari Sandoz. It is to be hoped that a definitive bibliography will soon be under way. So far as I know, the recently published The Battle of the Little Big Horn (Lippincott), a forthcoming reminiscence, The Christmas of the Phonograph Records, and the essay introducing the Amos Bad Heart Bull Pictographic History of the Sioux (to be published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1966 and 1967 respectively) will complete the Sandoz canon unless her papers yield additional publishable material. In the letter I mentioned earlier, Miss Sandoz said that she was “not afraid of the evaluation posterity will put upon my nonfiction — good or bad it is unique in its field and those who come after me will have to depend upon it to a very large extent.” She was dead right: like Mari herself, her work is sui generis and we will continue to depend upon it. And while we are waiting for that full-dress critical appraisal, I for one am happy to settle for this single sentence recently written by John K. Hutchens: “Here is a large state­ ment but, I think, a true one: no one in our time wrote better than the late Mari Sandoz did, or with more authority and grace, about as many aspects of the Old West.”7 V ir g in ia F a u l k n e r , University of Nebraska Press Wapiti Wilderness. By Margaret and Olaus Murie. (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1966. 302 pp. $5.95.) Last century, Henry David Thoreau demonstrated that the lover of wilder­ ness, the person deeply attached to natural beauty at its purest and most intense, need not be a loner, a sour misanthrope. In fact, a love of wild nature most often is simply another manifestation of a general love for life — a crea­ tive, all-embracing connection with the world, including people. Hence the essentially social import of Thoreau’s famous benediction, “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” It was this way, too, with John Muir, certainly, who at the turn of the century told his feeling in mystical, deeply felt religious terms. In our own time, perhaps no two people have expressed this rare and great wholeness of spirit, founded on wonder and reverence for life, better than Olaus and Mardy Murie. Wapiti Wilderness, which has been put together by Mrs. Murie since her husband’s death in 1963, reveals some of the sources of the magnanimity and serenity of the Murie outlook, and proves, if proof is needed, that a solid connection with wild nature, a real, felt knowledge of it, naturally leads to 7Book-of-the-Month Club News, July, 1966, p. 11. 228 Western American Literature a wide social concern as well. As the Mûries move through the book, beginning with “something new and exciting, a challenging adventure” (the assignment in 1927 to study the life history of the elk herd of Jackson Hole), and leading through many beautifully described wilderness experiences to the closing re­ flections on the quality of modern life in Jackson Hole, there is always a two­ fold emphasis. The sights and sounds and smells of wilderness are ever there — I doubt that anyone, for example, has written more truly of the wilderness night than Olaus Murie in “Voices of the Moonlight” — but people play an important role in this book also. “I hope it will be a long long time before man can spoil it all,” says Mrs. Murie, and in this quiet indictment of man-ingeneral , seen in his bureaucratic or simply careless manifestations like slickly modem Visitor Centers and high speed roads through inspiring country, there is justice. But the Mûries certainly don’t forget man in particular. The por­ traits of Beaver Dick Leigh, who is allowed to speak for himself here through his poignant diary, and of a rancher-poet friend of Olaus’, are drawn with care and fairness and sympathy. These are people who loved wild country and who tried, usually haltingly but always genuinely, to express that feeling. They...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 227-228
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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