Last Best Place

William Kittredge, Editor, Annick Smith, Editor University of Washington Press $45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-295-96690-8
The size of this collection (over 150 authors, almost 1200 pages) may be daunting, and its heft effectively bars bedtime reading, but it's a treasure trove of Western Americana. James Welch's introduction is low-key and compelling. ``Native American Stories and Myths'' are deceptively simple nonreligious tales from eight Montana tribes. ``Journals of Exploration'' includes Lewis and Clark and J. J. Audubon. ``Stories of Early Pioneers and Indiana'' has Elizabeth Custer's legend-building ``Our Life's Last Chapter'' and Chief Joseph's moving ``I will fight no more forever'' speech. Some selections focus on the rapacious Anaconda combine; others deal with life on the agricultural frontier. ``Literature of Modern Montana'' includes parts of Wallace Stegner's 1943 classic Big Rock Candy Mountain , A. B. Guthrie Jr.'s The Big Sky , Dorothy Johnson's ``The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance'' and Leslie Fiedler's iconoclastic ``The Montana Face.'' The section on contemporary fiction has excerpts from the novels of Norman Maclean, Thomas McGuane and Ivan Doig. The work of more than 30 contemporary poets is also represented. General readers will enjoy dipping into this; western buffs will love it. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Hardcover - 1158 pages - 978-0-917298-16-5
Hardcover - 1164 pages - 978-1-56044-155-7
Paperback - 1160 pages - 978-0-295-96974-9
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