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84 Western American Literature conservation and reclamation; here Gressley draws upon materials at hand pertaining to Arthur Powell Davis and his work in these areas. More details on subsurface probing for energy, and the need for conservation of oil, are found in his essay on George Otis Smith, chairman of the Federal Power Commission and former director of the United States Geological Survey, a man whose ideas, as set forth in the 1920s, are of much interest today. Of national scope also are the essays about Wyoming’s senior senator, Joseph C. O’Mahoney, and Thurman Arnold, a Wyoming boy who later made it big in Washington, particularly in his role as head of the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department during early New Deal years. Perceptive readers of this fine volume will find that what Gene Gressley has to say about the earlier years of this century is highly applicable to current western and national issues, and if they read with care they will understand environmental and energy problems much more thoroughly. Even better, they will have enjoyed the learning process enormously in this very well written, finely drawn piece of scholarship. ROBERT G. ATHEARN, University of Colorado The Thin Mountain Air. By Paul Horgan. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977. 312 pages, $8.95.) The Thin .Mountain Air, Paul Horgan’s new novel, may remind one of any number of initiation stories. “Richard” (the Richard of Things as They are and Everything to Live For) has reached manhood in the East. He accepts the New England code of duty and service that his father follows. But when his family moves to Albuquerque, New Mexico, because of his father’s health, he is separated from his people and he undergoes an initiation experience on a New Mexico sheep ranch. The ranch is an anti-pastoral experience. Against ironic quotes from Virgil’s Georgies, Richard learns to shear sheep whose wool is matted with filth. And one of his fellow shepherds, Buz Rennison, demonstrates the art of pursuing shepherdesses, when he engages to win Concha, the wife of the elderly ranch owner, Don Elizario Wenzel. Through the violent conse­ quences of Buz’s actions Richard learns about the world of will and unrestricted desire, and in the conclusion to the book rejects it for his father’s world of duty. But the initiation story is not as familiar as it might seem. Richard’s most heroic act, the rescue of a young boy named Christopher from Niagara Falls, takes place at the first of the novel, not after the initiation as it tradi­ Reviews 85 tionally should. Like the pastoral that becomes antipastoral, the traditional initiation story has been turned upside down. The book concludes with Richard dutifully fighting in the Second World War, in which Christopher has already died. The book ends on a hopeful note, however, for Richard has named his own son Christopher. MARY WASHINGTON, Utah State University The Genuine Article. By A. B. Guthrie, Jr. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. 180 pages, $7.95.) A. B. Guthrie’s latest book, The Genuine Article, raises more questions about the author’s development as a Western writer and the evolution of the Western novel. Ostensibly, The Genuine Article is a “novel of suspense” (according to the subtitle) and a continuation of Wild Pitch (1973) and the life and adventures of would-be baseball player Jason Beard who, with his pitching arm gone and almost twenty-one, is now officially able to track down another murderer — this time not as adolescent flunky but as Sheriff Chick Charleston’s deputy. In typical suspense fashion, Sheriff Charleston, deputies Jase Beard and Jimmy Connon, town Marshal Halvor Amussen, Inspector Gewald from the state attorney general’s office, and the sleuthful reader play the “Who done it?” game. Aside from motive, what almost everyone is looking for is the murder weapon, the “genuine article,” as it comes to be called, which crushes in several places the skulls of two victims. The first one murdered is F. Y. Grimsley, local rancher, Indian hater, and general bastard whose initials Guthrie humorously says stand for words appropriate to Grimsley’s low regard with the townspeople...


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