An intriguing, if occasionally rambling, tale of a sometimes-solitary life.



A thoughtful memoir about growing up on a ranch in the mountains of Northern California, punctuated with philosophical musings on societal changes over the past seven decades.

Beck’s debut takes readers on a long journey over mountainous trails, through the vast acreage of his family’s cattle-rearing land—some of which they owned, some of which they leased. He writes about how his connection to that land, and to the wild and domesticated animals that populated it, became the defining influence in his life. In later years, he found himself in the more citified world of Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he became a designer and teacher in the theater department, but he never really left the ranch, either physically or emotionally. The product of a father who taught him “to be a man” and a mother who sought to protect him from physical harm, Beck seems to have incorporated these opposing forces into a strenuous and soulful life. He shows his artistic side through reproductions of his rather charming watercolors, which he scatters throughout the book. His words, however, focus on the excitement, adventures and misadventures of running the ranch, which he mostly accomplished on horseback. He tells of how his passion for horses began long before he could mount and ride them: “From the time I had enough balance to even attempt to straddle a horse, live or imaginary, I would, by God! Grow up to be a horseman.” The narrative is sometimes unnecessarily encumbered by the names of trails, streams, rocks and hills, most of which readers will soon forget. But the essence of the countryside and the harsh details of ranching come across vividly and sensually. He doesn’t include significant biographical information about his wife, children or adult home life in these recollections; rather, this is the joyful, poignant story of one man’s changing relationship with land and beast.

An intriguing, if occasionally rambling, tale of a sometimes-solitary life.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-1491093351

Page Count: 198

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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