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Reviews 395 Judged by some to be more an indoor type than outdoor—i.e., more paleface than redskin in Philip Rahv’s modeling—Horgan actually encom­ passes civility and wildness, drawing rooms and nature in his writings; he fabri­ cates his plots and develops his themes out of the whole complex set of tensions associated with East/West. The selections in this volume include his sublime accounting of centuries of historical process in Great River; his account of Emersonian causality and the effects of great men through portraitures of Lincoln, Josiah Gregg, Archbishop Lamy, and Horgan’s friend and ideal “maker,” Stravinsky. Also included are such masterpieces of short fiction as “The Peach Stone,” a cogent dramatization of love and death in the West yet to be surpassed; and portions of his novels from the earliest New Mexico narratives, No Quarter Given and Far from Cibola, to his East/West triptych and tour de force, the “Richard” novels (soon to appear together and complete in reissue). Of America East & West is a fine compendium of selections by a writer’s writer and American “regionalist” whose artistry and eye, whose soul and heart enrich us as Americans and reaffirm our human kinship and our history. Any one selection is bound to take the reader back to the complete work with deep appreciation for his legacy, with huzzahs for Horgan. ROBERT F. GISH University of Northern Iowa Mattie. By Judy Alter. (New York: Doubleday, 1988. 181 pages, $12.95.) Judy Alter, author of a number of adult and young adult books about the West, takes the life of pioneer Nebraska physician Georgia Arbuyckle-Fix and imagines, fully, the life of a woman doctor on the frontier. Mattie Armstrong, daughter of “an unmarried mother, fallen woman, they called her back in Princeton, Missouri,” stays behind in Missouri when her mother marries and moves to the Nebraska frontier. Mattie is hired by a doctor to help him care for his daughter—and for his wife, who suffers from a severe mental disorder. After Dr. Dinsmore’s wife dies, Mattie moves with the doctor and his daugh­ ter to Omaha, where Dinsmore joins the faculty of the new Omaha Medical College. Mattie grows up in Dr. Dinsmore’s home in Omaha, goes to medical school herself, and is about to begin a career in the city when the doctor, after too much to drink, makes unwanted advances. Mattie decides to move to the frontier to be near her brother and her widowed stepfather. The only doctor in her part of western Nebraska, Mattie overcomes the opposition attendant on being a woman physician and spends the rest of her life as a respected and beloved figure. She marries unsuccessfully, is divorced, but finds consolation in her work, in one brief love affair after her divorce, and in helping to raise a poor boy who follows in her footsteps as a doctor. Doubleday published Mattie in its Double D series, but the novel is any­ thing but a formula Western. Mattie is an excellent novel by any definition. 396 Western American Literature The character of Mattie is fully realized, for the author takes no easy outs in portraying this woman. Mattie is as flawed as most good people are, makes the usual human mistakes, and surprises us with her human complexity. The characterization of Mattie is the best thing about the novel, but the full reali­ zation of what life must have been like on the frontier of western Nebraska is another feature that makes this novel so good. Mattie is one of the best novels set in the West that I have read in years. This is Judy Alter’s best novel to date. JAMES WARD LEE University of North Texas A Charge of Angels. By L. D. Clark. (Lewiston: Confluence Press, 1987. 187 pages, $14.95.) In the Cross Timbers area of north Texas in the late 1930s, the natural order of things seems to be gone for the people of Milcourt, especially for one man, Amon Lamb. Clark’s story is a first-person narrative told by Lamb in his country dialect. He fills us in on the incongruous string of events that causes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 395-396
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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