THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF GEORGE McJUNKIN by Franklin Folsom

THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF GEORGE McJUNKIN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Black cowboy George McJunkin is remembered by history as the discoverer, in 1926, of the Folsom site -- a pit containing the remains of a prehistoric bison killed by a stone arrowhead which first proved to archaeologists that man had lived in the Americas for much longer than the then accepted 3000-year estimate. By all the evidence, carefully traced in the foreword here, McJunkin's find was far from a freak stroke of luck. Besides being a first-class ranch foreman and horse trainer, the ex-slave had a lively lifelong interest in fossils and minerals (some of which he carried with him in a trunk, to the mystification of other ranchhands), in telescopes, and in stargazing. Folsom is an indifferent stylist and his hesitant attempts to fill in the gaps of George's life with invented dialogue sometimes leave the narrative hanging limply between fictionalized biography and straight reportage. Still, Folsom's informers have remembered the essence of George's wit (which he particularly directed against newcomers who objected to his color) and Folsom's characterization of him as a man who bore no grudges and found a freedom marred only by loneliness rings true.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Nelson