Conan the Barbarian is an internationally known icon. His creator, Robert E. Howard, remains to most an Oedipal figure who created the Cimmerian swordsman as a wish-fulfillment fantasy. Finn quietly and expertly demolishes these and other misconceptions about Howard. Rather than use Conan as the yardstick to measure his creator's life, he discusses Howard in the context of a populist writer whose dyspeptic view of civilization was forged in the corrupt Texas oil boomtowns in which he grew up. Howard was a natural storyteller who used the techniques of folklore to create his own ""tall tales"" in an economical yet poetic style. Finn handles his charged subject in a straightforward, even-handed manner. This is a worthy addition to the 100th anniversary of Howard's birth that all readers of fantasy and regional fiction will enjoy.