In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 353 study, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians. The ethnologist’s close rela­ tionship with the Kiowas, Comanches, and others earned him the deep respect of many Indians. However, Mooney’s study and use of peyote for religious purposes also earned him the ire of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian reformers, including two notable native Americans—Carlos Monte­ zuma and Gertrude Bonnin. Moses exposes the academic and socio-political problems that plagued Mooney, and he skillfully assesses the ethnologist’scon­ tributions to the field of anthropology. The author also suggests that much of Mooney’s data remains untapped, available for some future scholar. The life of the “Indian Man” is expertly portrayed by Professor Moses in this first-rate biography. The volume is certain to become the definitive work on James Mooney. CLIFFORD E. TRAFZER San Diego State University English Creek. By Ivan Doig. (New York: Atheneum, 1984. 339 pages, $15.95.) Ivan Doig’s new novel is set in the summer of 1939 as its narrator, Jick McCaskill, approaches his fifteenth birthday. Significantly, this point in time marks both the end of the Great Depression and the start of World War Two. Thus the book does not utilize the typical patterns of history and incident western fiction has emphasized. The fact that Jick’s father is chief ranger for the Forest Service in the “Two Medicine” country introduces another nonstereotypical element, as do the mixed sheep-and-cattle ranching backgrounds of the area’s inhabitants. Along with Doig’s ability to bring this time and the English Creek ways of life into realization with intelligence and honesty, the novel is notable for its reliance on ordinary happenings and day-to-day rela­ tionships among realistic characters as the essence of fiction. Like all of Doig’sbooks, English Creek isstructured with care. The novel is divided into four parts. The first section describes Jick’s horseback trip with his father into the Two Medicine National Forest as the summer begins, introducing the country and its people as well as Jick’s suspension between boyhood and maturity. Part two centers on the Fourth of July celebration and rodeo in the community of “Gros Ventre,” with loving attention to details of that high point of summer in the West, the“Fourth,” and the English Creek area’s history. In the third part, Jick works with a haying crew on his uncle’s ranch, and the climax of the novel occurs when Jick and his father become involved with the Flume Gulch forest fire. The short final section ties up loose ends of the summer and the lives of the principal characters as Montana moves with the rest of America into World War Two and its aftermath. Inter­ woven through these sections are the main plot and thematic threads of the novel: Jick’s coming of age and growth in understanding his parents, his father’s life in the Forest Service, the relationship between his brother Alec 354 Western American Literature and the luminously smiling Leona, and the slowly unfolding history of Stanley Meixell, the sheepcamp tender, bottle tipper, and ex-ranger who contributes to Jick’s education in human nature and the ties between past and present in the Two Medicine country. All this is handled with a firsthand sense of people and country, a gift for western language in narration and dialogue . . . and humor. For among other qualities, English Creek is filled with subtle comedy—the sloppy herder Can­ ada Dan and his sheepwagon meal (“growed-up lamb,” “mutton,” or “sheep meat”) served to Jick and Stanley, the bronc Coffee Nerves terrorizing the chutes and arena at the Gros Ventre rodeo, the ingrained ineptitude of Good Help Hebner in driving the overshot-stacker team. Western humor also emerges in the vernacular storytelling and conversations permeating this authentic, low-keyed historical novel which links the individualistic turn-ofthe -century Montana past with the amorphous growth, displacement, and standardization of the present. Since English Creek is the first of a projected trilogy of related novels, readers can look forward to receiving additional understanding and pleasure from the continuation of Ivan Doig’s saga of family life in a changing...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 353-354
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.