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Reviews 371 tioning their abrupt and secretive marriage, historians have found no access to the love affair between Sam Houston and ElizaAllen. No family stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next; no letters found in dusty trunks hidden in the attic. There is only imagination to fill in the gaps. This sense of imagination is the basis for The Raven's Bride. As Crook states in her forward, a biographical novel “isa hybrid creature offact and fabrication, in which authenticity becomes a dubious virtue.” In telling this story, the collecting offacts was a difficult task since there is no one story ofthis marriage, or even agreement that there was a marriage. Unlike Margaret Houston, “Eliza left no such record of herself; the only clues into her nature are mere scraps—a few statements made about her, long after her separation form Sam Houston, touching mostly on her demeanor and appearance, and a few words attributed to her on the subject of her marriage to Houston.” The strength of Crook’s work is in the appendix to the book, Crook’s speculation on the events of this relationship. It is here that Crook takes on her strongest voice—that of historian—and that the novel becomes most fascinat­ ing. For it is here that Crook clearly, though indirectly, explains that this is her story. But her story, she explains in her relating of the many missing pieces, is only one of many stories that could be told. Others are possible, perhaps even more plausible. For years, Sam Houston has cast a shadow over both Eliza and Margaret Lea, a shadow so dauntingly large that these twowomen have been made almost invisible. Crook and Roberts have taken this cover aside and offer stories that have been too long kept in the shadows. ANNE RIGHTON MALONE University ofNew Hampshire The Biophilia Hypothesis. Edited by Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson. (Washington, D. C. &Covelo, California: Island Press, 1993. 484 pages, $27.50.) Why, have you ever wondered, do so many urban folk, every opportunity they/we get, drive hundreds of miles and spend hundreds of dollars just to lounge for a few days on a beach, hike in a forest or camp by a mountain lake? Well, obviously, because we want to. Because we like such eye-pleasing, restful scenes. Granted. Yet, why do we find beaches, mountains, lakes and forests restful and eye-pleasing? And why do certain animals—e.g. the so-called “charismatic megafauna”such as grizzlybears, big cats, eagles, and whales—evoke in many of us such powerful feelings of awe and respect? And, conversely, how do we explain humanity’s shared phobias for certain elements of nature—spiders, snakes, dark woods? 372 Western American Literature The twenty contributors to The Biophilia Hypothesis think they might know the answer: We can’t help ourselves; these things are in our genes and basic to the human condition. Edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Yale professor of environmental studies, and Edward O. Wilson, Harvard professor of science and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, The Biophilia Hypothesis expands on Wilson’s de­ cade-old premise that humans possess an instinctive, genetic bond with na­ ture—thus, biophilia (Biophilia, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984). The eighteen essays in The Biophilia Hypothesis explore biophilia, and biophobia, in voices ranging from conversational to painfully academic. Among the most satisfying of the lot is “The Loss of Floral and Faunal Story: The Extinction of Experience,”by Gary Paul Nabhan and Sara St. Antoine, wherein the authors equate the diminishment of Sonoran Desert biodiversity—via live­ stock overgrazing and other unnatural influences—to the loss of both the traditional affinitywith nature and the oral tradition (storytelling) that invested that affinity in countless generations of southern Arizona Indians. Thus, say Nabhan and St. Antoine, environmental impoverishment leads to cultural and even personal impoverishment. Another outstanding contribution is “Searching for the Lost Arrow: Physi­ cal and Spiritual Ecology in the Hunter’sWorld,”in which Alaskan anthropolo­ gist Richard Nelson recapitulates several of the primitive worldviews he so poignantly described in his 1991 John Burroughs Medal-winning The Island Within (San Francisco...


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pp. 371-372
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