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Reviews 61 Sherman was present at the Kiowa Agency when the three chiefs were called in, arrested, and taken to Texas for trial. Tsatangya, the seventy-year-old principal chief, managed to get himself killed on the road. Capps follows the other two through their “trials,” imprisonment and later experiences, making the point over and over that the white people did not and could not understand the rules by which the Indians lived, any more than the Indians understood the ways of the white men. This is the standard conclusion reached by most writers nowadays, but nobody shows more clearly than Capps the reasonableness of the Indians’ behavior as seen from their own point of view. Part of his success is undoubtedly due to his willingness to explore the minds of his native characters, inventing conversations and analyzing motives as he goes along. There can be no doubt that he is a master of vivid narrative and an expert developer of character as a successful and skillful novelist has to be. The question is, does he have any right to turn his imagination loose when he is trying to get at historical fact? Serious students are going to shudder when he pictures Satanta worrying about whether his single white crane feather is straight in his hair, and when he reproduces in detail the interior monologue of the simpleminded soldier who is guarding Tsatangya when the old man goes berserk and has to be shot. The serious student will also be disturbed by Capp’s footnotes, which he uses to chat about his problems, argue about credibility, and to show “what is documentable fact, what is inferred fact, and what is imagined detail such as reconstructed dialogue.” A graduate student who gave himself such liberties would be in serious trouble. Walter Prescott Webb once remarked in a review of Paul Horgan’s Great River: “If Mr. Horgan wants to play in our ball park, he should play by our rules.” He would say the same about Capps’ book, even though it has been selected for special attention by the Western Writers of America and the Young Adults Division of the Literary Guild. Few contemporary writers can beat Capps when he plays in his own ball park. The sooner he gets back there, the better. C. L. SONNICHSEN, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, Arizona Zane Grey. By Carlton Jackson. (New York: Twayne Publishers Inc., TUSAS 218, 1973. 175 pages $5.50). There are times when the Twayne United States Authors series format must be almost impossibly restrictive to the creative scholar who attempts to work within its confines. Some of the best of the series are those in which the author has broken away from the general plan, and I’m thinking particularly of Rovit’s Ernest Hemingway and Westbrook’s Walter Van Tilburg Clark. On the other hand, there are times when the format could be helpful, and one of the problems of Carlton Jackson’s Zane Grey is that he did not follow the format; the result is organizational chaos. Jackson deals in the first chapter with the early years of Grey’s life, his marriage to Dolly, and the publication of “The Ohio River Trilogy.” 62 Western American Literature At this point, he switches his organizational pattern to an examination of Grey’s works by categories such as “Desert Novels,” “Mountain Novels,” “Historical Novels,” etc., and chronology disappears. As a result, details of Grey’s life are revealed only sporadically and subordinate^ through the discussion of the works. The reader hopes to no avail, for example, for some examination of the relationship of Zane and Dolly Grey. There are some hints in the courtship, in one letter from Dolly pointing up Zane’s self-indulgence as destructive to his writing, and a state­ ment of Zane’s about Dolly’s influence on his attitude toward women, that this was the most important relationship of Zane Grey’s life, but nothing is made of it. Jackson’s work is weakened not only through his choice of organizational structure and his failure in biographical analysis, but in other areas as well. First it should be stated, however, that Jackson’s task is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 61-63
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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