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BO O K REVIEWS 1 0 3 about this unique group of people that suspense would build, and we would hope against hope that this little band of Apaches would survive. In the end, as we know, defeat was inevitable. The conflict between the Apache traditional life of hunting and raiding and the Anglo doctrine of Manifest Destiny came to an ignoble end. Although these widely divergent philosophies of land ownership are irreconcilable, Apache Mountain Spirits still live: The Great Blue Mountain Spirit in the south, He is happy over me. My songs have been created. . . . My songs will go out into the world. (269) Killing Cynthia Ann. By Charles Brashear. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1999. 209 pages, $21.50. Reviewed by Steven Frye Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, California The abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker (or Naudah) by the Comanche in 1836, together with her re-abduction by Texas Rangers in 1860, was emblem­ atic of the moral and ethical conflicts and ambiguities that attended westward expansion in the nineteenth century. Charles Brashear’s new novel works from the vantage point of the Comanche, telling the story through the eyes of “Naudah.” The story begins in a Comanche village, making apparent from the beginning that the protagonist is completely assimilated into the Noconi band. She is the favored wife of Peta Nocona and the mother of two sons and a young daughter. When the village is attacked by Texas Rangers and many Comanche are killed, Naudah and her daughter are recaptured and returned to her white relatives. The balance of the novel is a sensitive and tragic portrayal of Cynthia Ann Parker’s failed attempt to adapt to a culture she finds foreign and removed from her experience and her heart. Brashear’s treatment of this most complex of historical events is rich with visual and historical detail. He takes the unconventional but reasonable approach of side-noting and annotating details and circumstances, pointing to various ancillary events and sources that lend credibility to his telling of the tale. The novel is without a doubt meticulously researched and founded on a thorough understanding of a historical chronicle derived carefully from con­ temporaneous print sources. For some tastes, particularly for those fond of modern and postmodern prose styles, Brashear’s use of language tends toward the sentimental, the vividness of detail and the expression of character bor­ dering on the maudlin. Clearly the author’s sympathies lie with the Noconi and with Naudah rather than with the young, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker, who was brutally kidnapped from her family. Mention is made of 1 0 4 WAL 3 6 .1 SPRING 2 0 0 1 Comanche brutalities, but the focus of dramatic rendering is placed upon the atrocities of Texas Rangers and on the blind cultural insensitivities of white settlers. To write from this vantage point reflects a deliberate authorial choice, and to tell the story from this singular perspective is certainly to tell the truth in part. The novel lacks, however, a deep and penetrating portrayal of an event that involved unspeakable cruelties on both sides, a portrayal of moral ambi­ guities that we see in the great romances ofNathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, or in the work of contemporary novelists of the West such as Cormac McCarthy. Still, Brashear’s encyclopedic knowledge of the event and of the Comanche people, his skill with descriptive language and his sensitivity to character make this novel a good read, a worthy exploration of the psychology of victimhood, and a dark personal tale that attests to the human consequences of violence. ______ Ini______ EVANS $ 1 0 ,0 0 0 Bio g r aph y A w ard $ 1 ,0 0 0 H andc art A ward The Evans Biography and Handcart Awards are designed to encourage fine writing about the people who have helped shape the growth and character of an important part of America. These prestigious awards are made available through a generous endowment from the family of David Woolley Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans. Judges will consider the biography of any person who lived a significant portion of his or her life in what might be termed...


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