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Reviews 353 whose people claim the Shoshone Mountain waste repository as a sacred site, and the monks who live near the mountain, put up a passionate fight against the Department of Energy. The narrative “fallout”that ensues proves both humor­ ous and horrifying. Bergon’s fine new novel suggests that monastic practice in the nuclear age demands a combination of asceticism and activism, and that blind faith in science maywell lead to a spiritual as well as a physical wasteland. ELIZABETH BLAIR The University ofIllinois at Chicago Footloose on the Santa Fe Trail. By Stephen May. (Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1993. 140 pages, $19.95/$12.95.) Personal and engaging, May’s book is useful to general readers as an introduction to the overlapping lives ofa number oftraders, military personnel, and adventurers on the Santa Fe Trail in 1846-47, at the beginning of the Mexican War. May interweaves historical narrative with an account of his own walk along the 200-mile stretch of the Trail between Bent’s Fort, Colorado, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gabriel Wiggins apart, the historical players will be familiar to many readers: Francis Parkman, Henry Chatillon, Samuel and Susan Shelby Magoffin, Ceran St. Vrain, Stephen Watts Kearny, Charles and William Bent, Lewis Garrard, and George Frederick Ruxton. Wiggins, whose personal diary May discovered by chance, was a carpenter in the Army of the West and shot afellow soldier in Santa Fe. Mayromantically imagines him a fugitive in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. There are points where Mayconflates his narrative voice with the unquestioned assumptions ofhis characters—in one unfortunate turn of phrase Kearny is labeled “the great white hope, the redeemer of Montezuma’s and Coronado’s vanquished races.” Flat reproduction does not do justice to the forty-seven accompanying photographs. MARTIN PADGET University ofCalifornia, San Diego The Ballad ofRocky Ruiz. By Manuel Ramos. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993. 201 pages, $17.95.) Mystery fans will enjoy this first novel by Manuel Ramos, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver. Ramos’protagonist is also a Denver lawyer, Luis Montez, a burnt out case who represents that city’s lost souls and have-nots. Montez’sbleak life grows bleaker when one old college friend is murdered and another disappears. Former members of the United Mexican American 354 WesternAmerican Literature Students, Montez and his friends rode “the wave ofChicano pride . . .that swept the Southwest”in the Sixties until the death of their leader, Rocky Ruiz, doused their revolutionary spirit. Now, Montez is drawn back to that past life, back to the mystery surrounding Ruiz’s murder. TheBallad ofRockyRuiz has all the right elements: an engaging, complicated plot; a mysterious, beautiful, perhaps deadly young woman; a grumpy, savvy cop; corrupt money men and land developers; and even unprincipled, pomp­ ous lawyers. Although insightful and driven, Luis Montez is no macho gumshoe type, and following his steps and missteps makes for enjoyable reading. Manuel Ramos isworking on his second Luis Montez novel. Given his likely cast of recurring characters—Detective Philip Coangelo; Montez’s sarcastic father, Jesus Genaro Montez; andJanice Kendall, “another ex-legal-aid lawyer” who plays an interesting but minor role in this book—that next installment should also be a delight. ROBERT HEADLEY Southern State Community College, Ohio BrightAngels and Familiars: Contemporary Mormon Stories. Edited by Eugene Eng­ land. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992. 275 pages, $19.95.) This volume of contemporary Mormon short stories is dedicated to the memories of Maurine Whipple and Virginia Sorensen, whose novels (The Giant Joshua Tree, 1941 and A Little Lower Than the Angels, 1942), both published outside Utah, gained some ofthe first national recognition for Mormon writing. They are represented in this anthology by short pieces which, interestingly, clearly show the distance Mormon writing has traveled in the half century separating the “lost”generation from succeeding ones. The other twenty stories are by current writers who are all associated with Mormon letters in a formal way by participation in competitions, by publication in Mormonjournals that are independent ofthe Church yet identified with it— and no doubt scrutinized by it—or by publication through regional presses. Their shared Mormon background leads them...


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pp. 353-354
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