""I cannot reconcile myself to the loss of landscape, which for me often is an analogy for my own body.... And yet I know that I have never owned the landscape."" In her second collection of essays (after All but the Waltz), Blew again demonstrates her artistry and strong connection to the Western terrain of her past and present homes in Montana and Idaho. In ""Crossing the Great Divide,"" she recounts the trip she took with her daughter across the Bitterroot mountain range when she fled from her marriage in Montana to begin a new life in Idaho. Blew is particularly adept at interspersing personal anecdotes with accounts of historical events; she vividly evokes the perilous journeys that Lewis and Clark and the Nez Perc Indian tribes made across the same mountains. Concern for the future of her beloved landscape is reflected in ""The Exhausted West,"" in which Blew details how settlers such as her grandparents helped open the pristine Montana paradise to greed, erosion and disease. ""Mother Lode"" is an informative analysis of the work of several Montana women writers, including B.M. Bower (Chip of the Flying U, 1904) and Dorothy Marie Johnson (Buffalo Woman, 1978). This is an immensely enjoyable collection. B&W illustrations. (Oct.) FYI: This is the fifth volume in the University of Oklahoma Press's Literature of the American West series.
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999 Release date: 10/01/1999 Genre: Nonfiction