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150 Western American Literature inner dimension of both his travail and his creativity. Although being inter­ viewed by de Mille, she resolutely avoids simple debunking. She seems to know what is important here and what is not, and her fellow-feeling for Castaneda makes this interview — in contrast wth much of the rest of the book, I must add — a human document. Both Riesman and Myerhoff seem to be following a path with heart. THOMAS J. LYON, Utah State University Incident at Eagle Ranch: Aian and Predator in the American West. By Donald G. Schueler. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1980. 297 pages, $12.95.) Unremitting war on large predators is a western tradition. In a harsh pastoral landscape, anything threatening the flocks or herds must be exterm­ inated. When the West was almost totally pastoral or wild, when human control over the landscape was slight and human survival was indeed in doubt, such a tradition produced acceptable results. But now the balance has swung to the other extreme. The question is not whether humans will survive in the West, but whether any natural western landscape will survive. In this new context, traditions must be reconsidered. Donald Schueler has written a balanced, carefully reasoned examination of our relationship with the major large predators in the West — eagles, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions. In the proccss, he has extended his exami­ nation into the broader environmental questions stemming from our mastery of the landscape. He has done for these four predators what Francois Leydet did for one in The Coyote, Defiant Songdog of the West (1977). Schueler’s book begins in 1975 with the shooting from a helicopter of a golden eagle in Real County, west of San Antonio. It was witnessed and reported by the ranch manager. The resulting investigation led to the trial of four men accused of wholesale killing of eagles. That trial became, Schueler observes, a microcosm “of all the tensions and contradictions that promote misunderstanding and inaccuracy in the larger controversy.” From reporting this trial in Audubon magazine, Schueler set out to examine the “larger controversy.” He traveled over much of the Southwest, particularly Texas and New Mexico, getting acquainted with sheepmen, cattlemen, trappers, wildlife biologists, conservationists, politicians, bureau­ crats. An avowed conservationist, Schueler might have regarded ranchers and trappers as antagonists, but he found some he genuinely liked, even admired, and he achieves a sympathetic presentation of their problems and viewpoints. At the same time he chronicles the persistent but often Reviews 151 unfounded western folklore about predators, and the glaring gaps in our scientific knowledge about them. Having grown up in the Southwest, and having worked a summer for the Audubon Society in the area just north of Real County, this reviewer can testify from experience that Schueler’s presentation of the people of West Texas and New Mexico is authentic, perceptive, and fair. From extended analysis of the issues of predator control and wildlife management, Schueler moves on to his own proposals for solutions. These recognize the complex mixture of biological problems, about which we still know far too little, and “human” problems — social, cultural, economic, political. So many factors are involved, so many cross currents of special and public interest flow through these questions, that they seem insoluble. They will be answered, however, if not by deliberate decision then by default. If considered answers are to be sought, Schueler’s book constitutes a signifi­ cant contribution to the effort. Anyone, rancher or preservationist, interested in what is happening to the West will find this book informative, interesting, and provocative of new ideas. PAUL T. BRYANT, Colorado State University Idle Weeds, The Life of a Sandstone Ridge. By David Rains Wallace. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, a Yolla Bolly Press Book. 1980. 192 pages, $12.95.) This book is a naturalist’s account of occurrences in the plant and animal worlds over the space of a year on Chestnut Ridge, a sandstone outcropping in east central Ohio. David Rains Wallace, as the omnipresent narrator, tells the ridge’s story in a highly personalized and painstakingly detailed manner. Descriptions of the subtle, or occasionally violent, changes in weather that mark the pro­ gression of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 150-151
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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