Jul 31, 201209:30 AMThe Telegraph
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Western Words: July 31, 2012
Battleborn, by Claire Vaye Watkins
Battleborn contains ten stories of the American West from a new author who has already earned comparisons to the likes of Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy. Born in Death Valley and raised in the Nevada desert, Claire Vaye Watkins knows about harsh surroundings and places many of her characters in similarly challenging environs. The subject matter is mature and some of the situations violent and lurid, but unlike many authors that “reimagine” the west, Watkins also conveys the value of hard-won redemption regardless of circumstances.
Football in Texas is serious business, from the Friday night high school games to Sunday in Dallas Cowboys Stadium. College football has an equally fervent following throughout the state, particularly at the home of Hook ‘em Horns, the University of Texas at Austin. In Game of My Life Texas Longhorns, twenty of the greatest players to wear the orange, including Earl Campbell and Vince Young, discuss their favorite football memory. Where else can you find out how a Snickers bar convinced Ricky Williams to skip the pros and stay in college for his senior year?
Alone with the Past: The Life and Photographic Art of Roland W. Reed, by Ernest R. Lawrence
When one thinks of great photographers of the American Indian, the name Edward Curtis usually springs to mind. Curtis’s amazing portraits brought a nobility to his subjects that still resonates with contemporary viewers, though it is certainly no secret that he “dressed up” the images to create the “noble savage” look.
Working at the same time as Curtis was photographer Royal W. (Roland) Reed, who was equally fascinated with Native American culture. He didn’t have Curtis’s funding from the arts community, but he shared his eye for a great picture. Alone with the Past is a collection of images from when Reed lived with the Ojibwe in Minnesota, the Blackfeet, Piegan, Flathead, Cheyenne, and Blood in northern Montana and southern Canada, and the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona.
Almost everything we know, or are taught, of Native American culture dates from the time when the first European explorers and settlers arrived in the new world. But how many books begin their research in the third century B.C.E., with a claim that the original language of the Cherokee was Greek? Genealogist Donald Yates traces the origins of the Cherokee to an era when their ancestry was formed from Jewish and Eastern Mediterranean roots. For ancient history buffs, it’s a fascinating story.
Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812, Kathryn E. Holland Braund (Editor)
One of the most pivotal and bloodstained chapters in the history of U.S-Indian conflicts happened in the wars with the Creek nation. What began as a civil conflict between tribal factions exploded into a wider military campaign that made a national hero – and eventually a president – out of Andrew Jackson. The names of the battles are still familiar to any student of history.
Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812 examines these conflicts from multiple perspectives, including culture, religious practices and literary analysis. New archaeological details have been weaved into existing documentary records, changing some theories and confirming others. The book’s list of contributors includes author Gregory Evans Dowd (War Under Heaven), American historians David and Jeanne Heidler and anthropologist Gregory A. Waselkov.
For more recent book releases, check out last week's Western Words post.