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388 Western American Literature The key to this book’s design, like that of its quilt namesake, is diversity. For example, there are the reminiscences of a Jewish settler in nineteenthcentury Santa Fe, a Yavapai woman’s account of life in an Indian School, a story of Mormon plural marriage, and a Hispanic woman’s memories of family life in Albuquerque two generations ago. The narrative forms are just as varied: oral history, letters, traditional autobiography, a diary, and memoirs. Since the book covers much of the nineteenth-century Southwest, it is dis­ appointing that only two of the chapters are about non-Anglos, while Isabella Greenway’s story of a privileged girlhood in Minnesota and Kentucky is included. Nonetheless, such a wide-ranging book will surely have a story and storyteller to appeal to every reader. As with any collection, especially one featuring accounts by some women who never intended their stories to be public, the chapters are uneven. But Neiderman’s apologia in the Introduction for the “charming and crude” narratives is unnecessary for those seeking out authentic western voices. Just as the editor argues that women’s stories will differ from men’s tales of exploration and conquest, women’s style of telling is part of their history and needs no apology. In fact, it is the less polished accounts that this reader finds most valuable. Rodeo trick rider and rancher Eleanor Williams confided to her aunt in a letter, “Believe it or not, it is a real temptation to just pull up stakes and fly out. . . . It is time for the two o’clock show now, so I must stop and put on my scarlet and sweltering costume for the grand spectacle” (186). These reve­ lations are a telling balance to the smiling photographs that accompany Williams’letters. A Quilt of Words is handsomely designed (with the exception of a couple of irksome proofreading errors) and contains interesting photographs. Niederman provides information about the archival sources for the women’s accounts; since several of the chapters are quite short, these can serve as guides to those who may want to find out if there is more. While this book adds no new theory to the study of western women, like a good quilt it covers a lot of material, is interesting, and would make a cherished gift. JUDY NOLTE LENSINK University of Arizona Son of Old Jules: Memoirs of Jules Sandoz, Jr. By Caroline Sandoz Pifer and Jules Sandoz, Jr. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989. 125 pages, $24.50/$6.50.) Young Jules Sandoz, the second child of Old Jules and Mary Fehr Sandoz, was born eighteen months after his famous sister Mari—and these memoirs suggest that the role of younger brother was both refuge and burden. Jules Jr. saw himself as an outsider—to family, society, cultural norms: his self-portrait pictures someone shy, put upon, and eccentric, a man “disciplined throughout my life for my nonconformity.” Reviews 389 Truth and clarity in memoir are always problematic—motive is biased, memory precarious—but this memoir involved even further difficulties: young­ est sister Caroline eased it out between 1978 and 1980, when Jules Jr. was past eighty and dying of cancer; editorial revisions followed his death. Intended “to supplement, not contradict” Old Jules, it satisfied Jules Jr.’s desire “to give a more balanced view of the settler period” than sister Mari had provided. The book may thus seem merely a series of footnotes to Old Jules, of interest only to local historians and Sandoz scholars, but it has much to interest more general readers. There are many anecdotal details about frontier life— farming, trapping, raising dogs—and about growing up: testing limits (such as the relative merits of explosives), learning to manipulate homestead-era real estate, playing the role of young swain. Jules Jr.’s view that his parents “ruled us by competition” provides an interesting perspective on Sandoz sibling relations, and his attitudes towards Mari’s dismal marriage and divorce are revealing. Although it lacks the mythic resonance of Mari’s classic, this memoir provides additional hints to the emotional costs of frontier childhood. A poten­ tial key to young Jules’s...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 388-389
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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