AMERICA IS WEST by John T. -- Ed. FLanagan


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Strange that within a span of a fortnight two anthologies of mid-America should appear, -- the other, Mid Country, edited by Lowry Wimberly and published by University of Nebraska Press (see report P. 387). Inevitably there is some overlapping and much of the same rich vein is tapped; surprisingly there is not more overlapping -- and both books reveal the vast range of literary output. America Is West leaves one with a sense of the contributors, whatever their period, as men and women who have themselves contributed to the life and history, the polyglot frontier the power and strength and essential flavor. There are 84 authors represented, all lived at one time or another in the region of which they write. There are stories, articles, poetry, humor. There's history and legend, bits of biography, exploration and travel, the city, the small town; there are stories in the vernacular, pieces with a homespun quality, tall tales. There's a panoramic sense of the region covered -- not so broad based as Mid Country -- but reflecting the character of a part of America that has retained its frontier spirit. Lincoln, Mark Twain, Garland, Sinclair Lewis, Edna Ferber, Tarkington, Ruth Suckow, Masters, Sandburg -- these and many others, familiar and not so familiar, are represented, occasionally with bits taken from longer works, more often with rounded pieces, complete in themselves. One feels a lack of modern note -- an overemphasis on regionalism which somewhat dates the content, the only disappointing aspect.

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota