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Reviews 189 At times, Ialsofoundmyselfwishingfor amore scholarlytreatment oftheinclud­ edworks.Whetherthroughoversightordisinclination, Murray’sintroductionsfailtosit­ uate the works in his collections within the overall context of contemporaryAmerican nature writing, as thetitle ofthe series wouldsuggest.Also, the introductions canbe as self-indulgent as they are rudimentary. With each successive entry in the series, Murray’s opening narratives grow longer, while the portion which actually introduces the anthologyremains overlybriefandinadequate. But suchquibbles are withMurray’seditorial decisions rather thanwith the essays he has selected and are likelyto be problems only for scholars inthe fieldofAmerican nature writing, who are probably not the intended audience for this series. That anum­ ber ofthe selections arereprints fromreadily availablejournals (such as Orion, Sierra, and Audubon), or from often-studied books by major authors (such as Terry Tempest Williams’s Desert Quartet, Ann Zwinger’s Downcanyon, and Edward O. Wilson’s Naturalist) remindsmethatthis seriesisprimarilydesignedforthegeneralreadingpub­ lic, whohavefar less interest in scholarly apparatus thandoacademics. Forthat impor­ tant audience, one too often ignored by more scholarly anthologists, both American Nature Writing 1996 andAmerican Nature Writing 1997 will provide an overview of contemporaryAmerican writing about nature whichisboth informative and enjoyable. RICHARD HUNT University ofNevada, Reno Broken Country: Mountains and Memory. By C. L. Rawlins. (NewYork: Henry Holt, 1996. 279pages, $25.00.) Those ofus who were on college campuses duringthe late 1960s and early 1970s will forever puzzle over the dilemmaposedby the draft and a distant war inVietNam. Those ofus who, at the same time, sought solace indistant parts oftheAmericanWest will appreciate the instincts of C. L. Rawlins. Pushed in one direction by his family, pulled in another by a mercurial woman, searching for the man he was becoming, Rawlins spentthesummerof 1973intheWyomingmountains, herdingsheep.The acci­ dental analogy works exceptionally well. Just as family and friends and his own intro­ spection were herding Rawlins up personal peaks, over rocky passes, and down over­ grown valleys, so Rawlins himself pushes and pulls two thousand sheep across their summerrange. The sheepfattenthemselves intomaturity; so, ineffect, does Rawlins. Broken Country is aseamless combination ofRawlins’s 1973journal, his readings that summer, his own poetry, his memory, and the notes he took on later hikes in the same terrain. The narrative not only recounts those special two months in the author’s life,butalsoretellsthe storyofayoungmancomingtoknowhimselfinconnectionwith his landscape. ToreadBroken Country isto discoverboththe writer’syounger selfand the writer’sterritory, the rugged Salt RiverRange. Broken Country's physical events are compelling. The weather is typical of a Wyomingsummerinthemountains, withafewsunnydaysandthenfierce winds, light­ ning, unexpected snow. The dangerous cross-country moves plunge Rawlins into diffi­ cult situations—a sheer mountainpass where the herders have tokickstep the snow, an oldbum that collapses underfoot, atalus slope so steepthat two horses careen down it, 190 Western American Literature wind gusting the tent in on the cookstove. Just as I was fascinated by the winter incur­ sions ofRawlins’s earlier book, Sky’s Witness, so I was intrigued by the down-to-earth realismoffurtherWyomingexperiences. But these forays take thereader beyond therugged back-country ofthe Salt River Range. Rawlins’s words lead into the “broken country”ofone’s own memories ofthat distant war and of one’s youthful plights and passions. Sometimes witty, sometimes wise, often poignant, and usually provocative, Broken Country effectively herds the readeralong.WhileI’mnotterriblyfondofsheep(neitherisRawlins), Idefinitelyfound thesepages tobe goodgrazing. ANNRONALD University ofNevada, Reno Westerns: Making the Man in Fiction and Film. By Lee Clark Mitchell. (Chicago: UniversityofChicagoPress, 1996. 348 pages, $29.95.) Ernest Haycox. ByStephenL.Tanner. (NewYork:TwaynePublishers, 1996. 150pages, $26.95.) Novels ofthe West deservedly are subject to much scholarly interest, but popular Westernsareonlyrecentlybeginningtoreceiveacademicrespect.Tworecentbooksadd muchtoourknowledgeoftheseformulastories. LeeClarkMitchell’sWesterns provides abroad overviewofthe popularWesterngenre itself; Stephen Tanner’sErnest Haycox provides a specialized studyofone ofthe genre’sbest authors. Interestingly, Mitchell’s basic thesis inhis broad studyis borne out byTanner inhis specialized study. Thebasic themeofpopularWesternshasalwaysbeen,Mitchell’sthesisasserts, the “construction of masculinity.” Thus, Mitchell traces the development of the Western beginning with Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales through the panoramic paintings of Albert Bierstadt. Then Mitchell analyzes in detail major novels of Wister, Grey, Schaeffer, L’Amour, andmajor filmWesterns fromthefifties to the present. Westerns provides an excellent overview of the basic scholarship and the agreedupon lines of development within the genre. It is a substantial book, beautifully illus­ trated with black and white photographs of paintings...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 189-190
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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