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b o o k R e v ie w s 4 2 9 Although Eastwood evokes the constraints of genre, his work frustrates expectations by exploding order. As Dennis Rothermel notes, Eastwood’s “fondness for jazz improvisation” permeates his narrative style and pacing (230). Like practiced musicians, he and his crew have perfected a mutual rhythm so that the films wander freely in unpredictable directions. Mystic River (2003) baits the audience with the hope of solving a crime but instead reveals a “miasma” of interconnections: “No deed is understandable on its own, but arises within the inepressible tangents of causality that connect to a thousand deeds” (234). Raymond Foery identifies a similarly free-form style in The Bridges of Madison County (1995), in which Eastwood develops a hypnotic pace that progresses loosely and surely. But what should feminists do with Eastwood? Is it true that Eastwood creates a “poisonous masculine space built on the performance of aggression” (Metz 216)? Contrary to Walter Metz’s depiction, in Mystic River Eastwood pow­ erfully questions the figure of the violent white man at the Western’s heart. The vengeful vigilante, Jimmy (Sean Penn), accidentally kills the wrong man. Yet in the film’s most chilling scene, Jimmy’s wife, Annabeth (Laura Linney), cel­ ebrates him as a “king” who will risk injustice to protect his family. According to Rothermel, the film places the problem of violence where it belongs: not as the simple province of Jimmy or Annabeth but as a tragic outgrowth of an entire society. As Richard Slotkin argues, “we will need a myth that allows us to see our history as an ecological system: not a false pastoral of pure harmony, but a system bound together by patterns of struggle and accommodation within and among its constituent populations, in which every American victory is also necessarily an American defeat” (Gunfighter Nation 658). Jimmy’s victory is also a defeat for the innocent victim’s family. More recently, in his World War II films, Eastwood deconstructs the American “victory” at Iwo Jima, showing the myriad ways in which violence is never purely a victory but also simultaneously a defeat for all sides. On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape. By Jared Farmer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. 472 pages, $29.95. Reviewed by Jessie L. Embry Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah In On Zion’s Mount, Jared Farmer, a native of Provo, Utah, maps out how Eugene Roberts, a Brigham Young University professor, created an Indian legend and transferred the Utes from lake to mountain people. But the Mount Timpanogos story had twentieth-century meanings and not nineteeth-century Mormon attachments. Farmer’s complex web reveals interesting aspects of Utah history and its relationship to the changing past. To accomplish these goals, he discusses Utah Lake as a fishery for the Utes and then the 4 3 0 W e s t e r n A m e r ic a n L it e r a t u r e W in t e r 2 0 0 9 Mormons. Eventually though, the lake became polluted and was no longer a focus. Instead, mountains became important in Mormon lore as well as in recreational circles. Finally, Farmer explains how Roberts’s Indian legend mir­ rored lover’s leap stories. The book follows a predictable pattern: explain local history, place it into a larger setting, and summarize the connections. Farmer shows how western legends and literature are unique yet similar to other tales in the United States. While Fanner tells an interesting story, I question that Mount Timpanogos is “the best-known, best-loved mountain in Utah” (208). My mother grew up in Nephi, and her favorite mountain was Mount Nebo. I grew up in Cache Valley and looked out over the Wellsvilles. When I came to Brigham Young University, the only mountain I noticed was the Y Mountain. In addition, I am not sure how all the stories relate. Instead of connecting the dots, he creates a maze. Literature specialists will find a very long summary of lover’s leap stories that doesn’t appear to be central to his argument. When he got to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 429-430
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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