Out of the North

Ronald Johnson, Author Plover Press $8.95 (139p) ISBN 978-0-917635-11-3
Johnson, a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, proves himself a skilled raconteur in these loosely connected anecdotes dating from the late 1940s and early 1950s, when he did construction work in Alaska to earn money for college. A few of the pieces are tame, like the one about a Russian Orthodox priest in a small village who asked if there were other Russian Orthodox churches still in existence: he had last heard from his superiors in 1917. But most of these vignettes are filled with ``construction stiffs, badasses, and whores,'' people tough enough to thrive in a frontier setting. In fact, on one job, Johnson was the only man in the group who had never faced a felony charge. And the women could be equally unruly--like C. Mamie Diamondp. 92 , who ran a ``bathhouse'' until she shot four or five customers and her establishment was shut down. In addition to describing these picturesque characters, Johnson recounts some of his own experiences as a construction worker; meeting his wife Carol, a gritty stewardess who wouldn't hesitate to join in a brawlp. 130 ; trying to organize an independent union local; and hunting moose (``about as exciting as shooting a cow and a hell of a lot more bother''). (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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