Western History & Genealogy Blog

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New Books in Western History: Week in Reviews (6.9.09)

The last week's newspaper book sections offered a number of new titles related to the American West, including a memoir of disaster, a microcosm of methamphetamine in an Iowa town, and a memoir of horses, their complex master, and contemporary reservation life.

An earlier post introducing IndieBound ('What to Read? What to Read Next?') and its book recommendation Next List made mention of Norman Ollestad's Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival, his account of a 1970s childhood in California and Mexico, and his complex relationship with his father. Ollestad's book was widely reviewed in last week or so, and received positive notices in the Denver Post, Houston Chronicle, and Cleveland Plain Dealer.

In the Los Angeles Times, Scott Martelle, author of Blood Passion: The Ludlow Massacre and Class War in the American West, reviews Nick Reding's Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town. Reding discovered the inroads of methamphetamine on assignment in rural Idaho, but centers his narrative on the ravages of meth in Oelwein, Iowa. Martelle observes that Reding "opens a window onto a disturbing landscape that we might want to see, but that we can't avoid." Copies of Methland are on order.

Broken: A Love Story, a memoir by Lisa Jones, recounts the author's time with Stan Addison, an Arapahoe master of horses left a quadriplegic by a youthful car accident, and other residents on the Wind River Reservation of Wyoming. Broken was reviewed in Boulder's Daily Camera, and is the current editor's pick at NewWest, and praised for its unsentimental account of life in contemporary Indian Country.

Finally, the Washington Post book blog, Short Stack, includes two pieces of note: one, a list of five books on Japanese-American internment during World War Two; and the other, a brief interview with Paul Chaat Smith, author of the new book, Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong, and, with Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee.

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