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386 Western American Literature Siringo. By Ben E. Pingenot. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1989. 232 pages, $29.50.) Charles A. Siringo (1855-1927) was a Texas cowboy, Pinkerton detec­ tive, private detective, and autobiographer, writing not one but three auto­ biographies. Siringo is a well-written and well-documented biography; it is both sympathetic to Siringo and judicious in its estimate of his character. Siringo’s life could be divided into four parts: the cowboy, the detective, the author, and the sunset Westerner. Thus we get from this book some picture of the range life of the 1880s and 1890s, of the industrial conflicts of the ’90s (Siringo was the Pinkerton man in the Idaho mining labor battles), and of the Hollywood circle of Westerners in the 1920s: such men as authors Eugene Manlove Rhodes and Henry Herbert Knibbs, outlaw Emmet Dalton, actor William S. Hart, and vaudevillian Will Rogers, about whom, as a group, someone should write a book. This biography captures what is uniquely interesting about Siringo’s career as a writer. What he had to sell was authentic adventure. He was a truly self-made writer, self-taught and self-promoted. He was engaged in legal battles with the Pinkerton agency, as a result of which he could not publish what could have been his most intriguing adventures. His last years in the Los Angeles area were a struggle to keep himself in lodging while he tried to publish his last autobiography. Charles Siringo is the sort of character that the Wild West myth has trouble with—the western hero who does not die with his boots on. Nor did he retire from the scene; he lived on into the twentieth century and became part of it. He published his first book, A Texas Cowboy, in 1885, the same year that Owen Wister came to Wyoming and discovered the cowboy. The next year, Siringo and his first wife and their daughter came to Chicago in time for the Haymarket riots. He had two more careers and three more wives before his twilight years in Hollywood. Ben Pingenot’s Siringo is a book that helps clarify our understanding of the passing of the West. Mr. Pingenot is a past president of the Texas State Historical Association. His bibliography is a good example of what the biographer needs to look for, where to look for it, and the fun of looking. ROSCOE L. BUCKLAND Western Washington University Tracks in the Snow: Essays by Colorado Poets. Edited by Ray Gonzalez. (Arvada, Colorado: Mesilla Press, 1989. 122 pages, $8.95.) In 1986 there appeared two small anthologies of Colorado poetry. One of these, City Kite on a Wire, was brought out by Ray Gonzales, a well-known Denver poet and editor. Now Mr. Gonzales has edited a collection of essays by Colorado poets, most of whom appeared in one of the earlier anthologies. Reviews 387 There are fourteen essays in the volume, ten by men and four by women. Although there is great diversity in these essays, each of them follows, roughly, a similar pattern. Each of the authors has something to say about modern poetry in general and about his or her own poetic background. Each essay is followed by one or more recent poems by the author, many of them very good. Mr. Gonzales, in his introductory essay, recalls his first serious contact with modern poetry in a university classroom and ties this in with his early life on the deserts of West Texas and New Mexico. Another contributor, Susan Tichy, found her poetic subject during a stay in the Philippines; and still another, Bruce Barton, grew up in North Dakota and populated most of his early poems with loons. Nearly all of the authors show how their poetic subjects relate to experiences of their early years. Although these poets now live, or have recently lived, in Colorado, there is little in their poems or their essays that would label them as western or regional poets. Their concerns range across the world. Many of the poems and a number of the essays are concerned with politi­ cal, social and moral issues and in this respect are unlike a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 386-387
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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