American Woman

R. Garcia Y. Robertson, Author, R. Garcia Y. Robertson, Author, Rodrigo Garcia y. Robertson, Author Forge $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-86146-9
Told through the voice of Sarah Kilroy, a Philadelphia Quaker who witnesses the Battle of Little Big Horn from the Indians' side, this gutsy western adventure cocks a cold eye on the mythology glorifying Custer's last stand. No captured maiden, Sarah leaves her job in a factory and goes west after the Civil War to help civilize the Lakota but is swept off her feet--and out of the Indian Agency--by Yellow Legs, the Lakota brave whom she marries. While Sarah does ""her damnedest to be transparent,"" wrapping her blonde braids in otter pelts and painting her pale face, she ends up standing out for her pluck and brains: she gambles nose-to-nose with the notorious Coyote and calls up thousands of needed buffalo with a rendition of ""Amazing Grace."" Whether set inside Sitting Bull's lodge, at Custer's dinner table or in the thick of battle, each scene is depicted in vivid detail. In fact, the book's one serious flaw may be too much detail. When Sitting Bull, George Custer, Crazy Horse, Calamity Jane, Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill, Quanah Parker and young Black Elk all cross paths, the tale begins to read uncomfortably like a Who's Who of the Wild West. This is a minor complaint about an otherwise gripping, credible evocation of converging cultures on the American frontier. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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