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122 Western American Literature unresolved, befitting an ambitious novel which apparently is to be the first volume of a trilogy. The West Coast has engendered the best of recent speculative fiction. While Parable of the Sower is such, it would be unfortunate if it reached only science fiction enthusiasts. This is a fine and serious novel, and worthy of a wide readership. CHARLES L. CROW Bowling Green State University Max Brand. ByWilliam A. Bloodworth,Jr. (New York: Twayne, 1994. 189 pages, $22.95.) Bloodworth gives us a Max Brand, the pseudonym of Frederick Faust (1892-1944), whose life resembles his work. Brand (and this is the most wellknown of the several names he wrote under) churned out a million words a year each year from 1917 to 1942 in the many genres he spanned: Westerns principally, but also detective fictions, the Dr. Kildare series of stories and films, even poetry. Bloodworth might overestimate Faust’s influence at times; I question, for example, whether the writer of Dr. Kildare stories really im­ proved the earning capacity of physicians. Mainly, however, Bloodworth’s book gives a very readable overview of Faust’s prodigious literary production. Whether he wrote under the name Max Brand or David Manning or David Challis, or John Frederick, Faust turned out riveting tales of adventure, heroism, and historical romance, often violent, action-filled narratives, which gave the writer a substantial popular market. As Bloodworth demonstrates in his careful analysis of the publishing and marketing of Faust’s stories and novels, his readership was large and made the writer affluent. Faust, a native Californian, chose Italy as his residence, and would have continued grinding out his Westerns and spy stories from Florence had not economics called him back to New York and to Hollywood. Another side of Faust, the pulp-writer, was Faust the poet. Although Italy provided the backdrop for his “obsession with poetry”and the arts, the muse eluded him. Always modest about his stories, he found in his own pulp fiction elements missing in the modern fiction of his era: strong characters who acutely sensed their destinies. Bloodworth sketches the shape of Faust’s paradoxical career clearly and often eloquently in chapters that address his best and worst moments, from Max Brand’s The Untamed (1919) through the successful novel and film, Destry Rides Again (1930), to the decline of his Western pulp market in the early 1930s. While Bloodworth chooses not to address the social issues that emerge in Faust’swork—gender and racial stereotypes—this book constitutes a substan­ Reviews 123 tial contribution to the scholarship on Frederick Faust and his pseudonymous works. Readers will appreciate the excellent bibliography. ESTHER F. LANIGAN The College ofWilliam and Mary When the Century Was Young: A Writer’s Notebook. By Dee Brown. (Little Rock: August House, 1993. 223 pages, $23.00.) Dee Brown’s memoir of his southern boyhood provides a rich human backdrop to the historical and literary achievements of the author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The Gentle Tamers, Wondrous Times on theFrontier, and a host of other renditions of western history that have become cultural mile­ stones. Brown recounts his coming of age in the early twentieth century, a world he sees still rooted in a kind of social innocence and can-do mentality, a scene dominated by “steam locomotives, Victorian attitudes, genuine patrio­ tism, baseball players who loved the game as well as money, efficient railroads and trolleys, inexpensive books, gadgets that were easily repaired and . .. usable for years . . . sudden fatal diseases . . . religious revivals held under big tents.. . .Some of these thingswere splendid; others struck terror, especially in the hearts of the young.” This passage, with its tone of wry nostalgia and its heaped-on tabulation of detail, reveals the social historian embedded in the memoirist, and it typifies Brown’s narrative as he remembers and reinvents his formative years. The son of awidowed mother who ran the local post office in a small town that burst into commercial growth during southwest Arkansas’s oil boom, Brown spent his days in the hub of the town’s communal life, observing close hand the social interchanges of a bounding community. An early...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 122-123
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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