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Reviews 229 upon Long’s career, which, as the writer of the Foreword points out, “typifies the rise of the Army’s Engineers to meet the early technical challenges growing out of the formation of the United States and the conquest of the American wilderness.” Although Long is probably best remembered as an explorer, even though he was not outstanding in this capacity, he also made useful contributions to the technology of bridge design, the harnessing of steam power for transporta­ tion, and the construction of boats and even marine hospitals. Some of his engineering ability was directed toward deepening the channels of rivers and the removal of snags. The author concentrates upon what Long did, and we learn little about the man — his personality, character, or even his family life. The chief intereest that the life of Stephen Long holds for the reader curious about the West and its history is his exploring expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1819-20. To this venture the author unaccountably gives only perfunctory treatment, although the account of the expedition which Edwin James prepared after the party returned to the East runs to four volumes in Thwaites’ Early Western Travels. It is to James’ narrative that one must still tum, as did James Fenimore Cooper when he wrote The Prairie, which relied upon James as well as upon Long’s map of the West. Mr. Wood’s book is thoroughly documented and is unquestionably author­ itative. It draws upon a wealth of manuscript documents and published writ­ ings and is provided with a full bibliography. Unfortunately, its many weak­ nesses in construction, style, and mechanics, which might have been eliminated by careful editing, detract from the merits of the book. E d g e l e y W. T o d d , Colorado State University The Rummy Kid Goes Home and Other Stories of the Southwest. By Ross Santee. (New York: Hastings House, 1966. 160 pages, $4.95.) For Santee enthusiasts the publication of this little collection, with draw­ ings as usual by the author, is a sad and significant event, for it is Ross’ farewell to friends, readers, and the West he loved. There will be no more books or pictures by this kindly, profane, sentimental, disillusioned, unpre­ tentious, and wholly original spokesman for the cowboy and his country. It is always a surprise to people just discovering Santee to learn that he was born in Iowa (in 1889), studied at the Chicago Art Institute, failed as an artist, and took up horse wrangling as a way of life only after losing 230 Western American Literature all hope of a career in the East. This was in 1915. By 1921 his first-hand experience in his new environment, his love for his adopted brothers, was beginning to make him known as an artist and writer, and for the next thirty years he grew in competence and public acceptance. The pictures, done with great economy and simplicity and with a kind of honest awkwardness, were magnificent. A few black marks on the paper and there were the brooding mountains of Arizona, the overwhelming dis­ tances, the enormous sky — a tiny ranch house and corral somewhere in the background — a patient horse and his indomitable rider lost in the landscape but serene and at home. Santee told what he thought of the country and the men it bred with every brush stroke. The stories said in words what the pictures said in line and perspective. The little sketches — they were no more — told about the cowboys at work and in town, about their women and their horses, their troubles and triumphs, the codes they lived by and the forces which shaped their lives. Santee was no romanticizer. He knew about hardships and human weaknesses, violence and death, and he did not dodge them. But he had a good sense of humor and presented as true and sympathetic a picture of the Arizona cattleman and his environment as a Westerner could ask for. Writing always in the idiom of the cowboy and keeping his spelling and grammar in harmony, he succeeded in sounding simple without sounding ignorant — a feat which takes something close to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 229-231
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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