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Reviews 91 Nearly every entry is accompanied by an account of how the auto­ biography was created as well as a few general remarks about the contents. Brumble is particularly aware of the influence of white collaborators. In the case of some well-known books, such as Black Elk Speaks, Brumble has composed more extensive remarks that are especially helpful to his readers. This reference work has been thoughtfully composed and is worth read­ ing in its entirety because it is an impressive survey of one important, although occasionally misleading, form of American Indian self-expression. H. David Brumble III deserves congratulations for his efforts. CLYDE A. MILNER II Utah State University Catch the Wind. By James Grady. (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1980.) The manifold changes that are being devised under the term “energy development” are complicated in human as well as environmental contexts. The mountains themselves will stand, outlines a bit muffled by the rising dust of roads and mines, but the human topography of the West — the cowboy and rancher and small town mix of arrogance and innocence — will be blurred beyond recognition. The economics and demographics of coal and oil exploitation are imposing a kind of dollar-totalitarianism that does not blend with local cultures and “barely gettin’ by.” This novel charts the defeat of ranchers in southeastern Montana who want little but to keep their land and preserve their way of life. The coal seam beneath their ranches promises a boom for the valley and the ranch community finds itself pressured not only by speculators and corporate front-men, but ironically by the townspeople and businessmen who discover a sudden allegiance to progress means more than the affinities of several generations. Grady is a native of Montana with two published novels that fall into the commercial spy-thriller category'. He is also a working journalist who, while on the staff of a Montana senator, helped to draft the first federal strip-mining law. This experience gives the novel an excellent factual back­ ground and a currency that is refreshing in a genre — the western novel — that seems preoccupied with the past. As a novelist, Grady traces conflict from the level of economic and political struggles down to the delicate balances between and within the individual characters. There is an archetypical rancher. Curt Ross, married more to the land and lifeway than to his faded wife: a lovely environmentalist -organizer, Lee Driscoll, with whom he becomes agonizingly embroiled; 92 Western American Literature and a cast of businessmen and neighbors and relations which seems almost to be drawn from a sociological breakdown. What makes this a felt novel rather than an exercise in socio-economic extrapolation is the compassion and integrity with which Grady moves and develops his characters. The portraits are complex with desire and pain and thwarted dreams, free of condemnation or praise according to type. No “good guys” and no “bad guys.” A full range of personal and moral choice is displayed and given just consideration, though it is clear where Grady’s sympathies lie. In the process through which the western novel attempts to move beyond the horse-opera stereotype — an evolution hampered by the glad acceptance of the reading public of the old-west myths and types — this novel is an important and necessary stage. In its more raw and less journalistic passages, it cuts to the bone. C. L. RAWLINS, Cora, Wyoming Legendary Ladies of Texas. Edited by Francis Edward Abernethy. (Dallas: E-Heart Press, 1981. $24.95 cloth.) Legendary Ladies of Texas, publication No. 43 of the Texas Folklore Society, is a collection of some twenty-five essays on women who became legends in Texas. The book is tastefully designed, is illustrated with photo­ graphs and line drawings, and is well bound in an attractive cover. Most of the selections concern individual ladies. It is instructive to note that certain women were not included such as Sarah Hughes, Oveta Culp Hobby, Greer Garson, or Barbara Jordan. To be important and accom­ plished is not enough to be included; the lady had also to have some legen­ dary quality or strange appeal, so that it is difficult to separate fact...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 91-92
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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