Oct 2, 201209:27 AMThe Telegraph
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Western Words: Oct. 2, 2012
Luck or Something Like It: A Memoir, by Kenny Rogers
Singer, actor, and roast chicken magnate Kenny Rogers was one of the most popular stars in country music — actually, in American music — for decades. As with most Nashville stars, he had a long string of memorable hits, was good to his fans, and managed a largely scandal-free existence in the public eye. None of which usually makes for interesting reading, but Rogers’ memoir, Luck or Something Like It, is sure to find an enthusiastic response among the singer’s legion of fans.
Looking back over a remarkable career, there are bound to be wonderful stories about such classic songs as “The Gambler” and “Lady,” collaborations with Dottie West and Dolly Parton, and his early years with the First Edition and the New Christy Minstrels. I just hope he includes the recipe for the cornbread at Kenny Rogers Roasters.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is arguably the most significant book in the history of Native American literature. It is not overstatement to suggest that Dee Brown’s account of the vanishing Indian lifestyle in the 20th century had a profound impact on how Americans viewed their history with Native cultures. Originally published in 1970, the book has sold more than five million copies, and should be required reading for anyone with an interest in Native American studies.
A new paperback edition features 300 images, including maps, drawings, paintings, portraits, and photographs of notable sites and sacred battlefields. The text is also enhanced by essays from such historians and Native American leaders as Joseph Marshall III.
An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 North, by Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter
A drive up (or down) California’s scenic Highway 1 should be on any Western traveler’s bucket list. This extraordinary stretch of road is sandwiched between scenic cliffs on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, and offers remarkable views of the state’s natural attractions.
Author Janice Stevens and painter Pat Hunter shared this journey, as well as a few interesting side trips, and their book will provide all the inspiration you’ll need to hit the road.
Deliverance from the Little Big Horn: Doctor Henry Porter and Custer's Seventh Cavalry, by Joan Nabseth Stevenson
Custer’s Seventh Cavalry had three surgeons among its ranks before the Battle of Little Big Horn. When it was over only one, 28-year-old Henry Porter, was still alive. John Nabseth Stevenson’s evocative account of Porter’s battlefield heroics in the face of overwhelming odds is a wonderful addition to the existing literature on this seminal battle.
Following the attack, and the frontier surgeries he performed on more than 60 soldiers, Porter was instrumental in evacuating survivors and keeping them alive over a rough 15-mile journey to a steamboat, followed by a 700-mile journey to the nearest hospital in Bismarck. Stevenson reveals that the U.S. government has still not acknowledged Porter’s deeds. Perhaps this book will change that.
When Law Was in the Holster: The Frontier Life of Bob Paul, by John Boessenecker
O.K. Corral scholars and other Western historians will likely know Bob Paul’s name, but his adventures have not penetrated the pop culture like those of his sometime friend Wyatt Earp. John Boessenecker has written the first biography of the California and Arizona lawman, and has plenty of great material to work from.
From his days on a whaling ship in the South Pacific to his presidential appointment as U.S. Marshal of Arizona Territory, Paul has a turbulent life amidst turbulent times. But to read how he tried to uphold the law in an era of illegal immigration, ethnic violence and youth gangs is to wonder if we’ve really made all that much progress since the days of the wild West.
For more recent book releases, check out last week's Western Words post.