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Reviews 357 Afourth generation Coloradoan, born in Durango in 1924,Jackson Clark’s first guide to the hinterlands ofthe Four Corners was his father. Nattily dressed in a coat and tie, Fred Clark would load the family into a 1933 brown four-door Buick sedan. “Iwonder what’sup that road,”he was known to sayas he drove his family out to the edge of the map, introducing them to places like Shiprock, Chaco Canyon, and the Lukachukai Mountains. Although Jackson Clark admits that as a boy some of these expeditions seemed hot and dusty and interminably long, it is clear that he inherited his father’s appreciation of the region and his lust for exploring it. “I could read a map,”Clark writes, “before I could read a book.” In this collection of essays drawn from more than fifty years of travel through the Four Corners country, Clark meets legendary figures like John Wetherill, one of the brothers who discovered Anasazi ruins at Mesa Verde. He witnesses one of the last public appearances of Buckskin Charley, the great Ute chief, who rides off into the night after a pipe-smoking ceremony at a Durango Chamber of Commerce gathering. He listens to the yarns of Harry Goulding, the homesteader who convinced directorJohn Ford to film his western epics in Monument Valley. He flies over the canyon countrywith Louis L’Amour, who is seeking out a geographical backdrop for his novel TheHaunted Mesa. Clark’s memoirs create a bridge between legendary western figures and mythmakers like L’Amour who were drawn to the stories they left behind. His sense ofwonder, combined with a good dose of humility and a healthy respect for those of other cultures, particularly the Navajo artisans with whom he earns a reputation as an honorable trader, enhance Clark’s abilities as a raconteur and perhaps as a mentor for those who consider themselves native or aspire to be rooted to their place. PETER ANDERSON Salt Lake City, Utah In the Kingdom of Grass. By Margaret A. MacKichan and Bob Ross. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992. 130 pages, $40.00.) In this book, photographer Margaret A. MacKichan and writer Bob Ross share their perspectives of the Nebraska Sandhills. Similar to Walker Evans in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, MacKichan lived with ten different Sandhill families and preserved her impressions in photographs. She photographed the billowing clouds overshadowing grassy hills and, through the camera’s eye, witnessed the formation of community as the ranchers—men, women, and children—came together for branding time. The individual portraits capture the character of the Sandhills people as they gaze into the photographer’s lens. Unlike Agee and Walker, however, Ross and MacKichan work indepen­ dently. In the introduction they explain their desire to keep the photographs separate from the text so that one does not appear to illustrate the other. 358 WesternAmerican Literature MacKichan shareswith her readers her recent introduction to the Sandhills and its people. Ross, on the other hand, writes about his personal experience of growing up in the “kingdom of grass.” He tells about the people he grew up with: his family, his friends, and some odd characters from this group. He left home for school, and when he later returned, he appeared to find a conflict between the scholar ofwords, the poet, and the young boy of the Sandhills. Ross creates his part of the book in a series of individual essays. He uses simple events and images to create stories illustrating his life, like the chapter “Fence,” in which the reader learns a bit about fences between glimpses into Ross’s past. While the rest of the writing is clearly about Ross, the chapter titled “The Lost City” seems lost itself. This chapter contains brief images of an anonymous writer living alone in the Sandhills. Ross flashes back and forth between the isolated writer and the activities happening in town. The chapter at first seemsjarring and leaves this reader wondering if the solitary writer repre­ sents Ross and his sense of displacement after returning home. The combination of photographs and words, along with the contrast be­ tween Ross’spoint ofview and MacKichan’s, provides a multifaceted...


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pp. 357-358
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