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372 Western American Literature the author lets us into the secret world of Dell, whose hunger and dreams touch both the light and dark parts of us all. Each piece in the collection is worthy of a separate review, including the very fine illustrations which accent and never intrude. Images that are almost archetypal stay in the mind from this anthology: a scrap of red fox skin, a questing mouth, a Raven clan face, hands that flow in rhythms, one wild rose bud, a plump green soapstone rabbit, the voice ofa horse, seeds of curled mint, an unrest of crows, nuns in green slickers, a bearded lady, a wolf ruff blazing like a corona around a weathered face, women’sblood that births the world, hands whose turned-out thumbs gave a busy air. The last poem in the anthology says, “There is no word for goodbye.” There are, however, summary words for this anthology: Hunger and Dreams equals creativity and excellence. D. ALEXA WEST Utah State University Kit Carson: A Pattern for Heroes. ByThelma S. Guild and Harvey L. Carter. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984. 367 pages, $18.95 cloth.) Kit Carson is one of the most famous figures in American history, yet he has not received the scholarly attention or analysis he deserves. He traveled far and wide, making a name for himself as a trader, trapper, scout, agent, and soldier. From his beginnings as a poor runaway from Missouri to his rise as a prominent citizen of New Mexico, Carson’s life provides the stuff from which legends are made. During his own life, Carson emerged as an American hero, and he has been glorified from that time forward in pulp magazines, books, articles, movies and television. Guild and Carter provide a thorough study of Carson’s life, beginning with his family’s genealogy and their migration to Missouri. Carson’s child­ hood and early interest in the Far West are examined in detail, before the authors launch into his first adventures along the Santa Fe Trail, Jornada del Muerto, and the Chihuahua Trail. After proving himself to Ewing Young, Carson became a fur trapper, making his first expedition in 1829 through the White Mountains of Arizona to the California coast. The authors go on to detail Kit’s adventures with John C. Fremont, Stephen Watts Kearny, and James H. Carleton. In 1854 the former mountain man became Indian agent to the Utes. During the Civil War, he sided with the Union, ultimately lead­ ing the first New Mexican Volunteers against the Confederates. Kit’srole in the Navajo campaign is surveyed. The authors ignore Navajo accounts of this and other campaigns, arguing that since the Navajos had no written language, their oral history became “creative and dramatic.” They maintain that all Navajos view Carson as “a symbol of evil,” but not all Navajos view him as such. Guild and Carter fail to examine Ruth Roessel, Navajo Stories of the Long Walk Period, or to consider Indian views on Navajo history. Reviews 373 The volume provides a solid survey of Carson’slife, but it iswritten with a Neo-Whiggish slant—one which glorifies Kit and exonerates his actions which brought death and starvation to others. Guild and Carter feel that Carson is our nation’s greatest western hero, a man who “stands as the per­ sonification of the great westward surge known as Manifest Destiny.” All Americans, they argue, would “do well to remember Kit Carson as one of their heroes, for fortune has seldom smiled upon a more deserving character.” The tone of the volume does not do justice to the life of Kit Carson, and the omission of Indian sources detracts from the biography. CLIFFORD E. TRAFZER San Diego State University A Cloak of Light: Writing My Life. By Wright Morris. (New York: Harper &Row, 1985. 306 pages, $19.95.) The subtitle of this book will entice dedicated readers of Wright Morris, who have long been curious about the personality of the writer and the back­ grounds to his methods and major themes. The third volume of Morris’ memoirs—begun with Will’s Boy (1981) and continued in Solo (1983)— A Cloak of Light more or less...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 372-373
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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