edited with an introduction by Paul Andrew Hutton, La Frontera Publishing, Cheyenne,Wyo., 2010, $23.95.
Good writing is good writing, whether it be fiction, nonfiction or poetry. Rarely are all three of those forms found in one book, but that’s what this 314-page anthology contains, and there’s not a bad entry in the bunch. Presented by the Western Writers of America (WWA), which was founded in 1953 and presents its prestigious Spur Awards for good Western writing in a variety of formats, this fine collection includes 14 short stories, six nonfiction pieces, five poems and one novella.
Distinguished historian Robert M. Utley compares Geronimo to other Chiricahuha Apache leaders. Susan K. Salzer, who wrote about Medicine Bill Comstock in the June 2009 Wild West, offers more on the intriguing scout. Wild West contributor Bill Markley contributes a piece about fur trader Kenneth McKenzie. The other nonfiction pieces are by Kent Blansett (“Murder at Navajo Mountain”), Cheewa James (“Modoc: An American Indian Saga”) and Paul L. Hedren (on Buffalo Bill Cody’s “first scalp for Custer”). Elmer Kelton, Matt Braun, Richard Wheeler and Johnny D. Boggs are among the award-winning writers whose short stories grace the anthology. The novella is The Big Guns: or, Whose Little Lily Is She? by Andrew Fenady, who produced The Rebel, Branded and Hondo. Paul A. Hutton opens the anthology with a short and not particularly sweet (buy more Westerns, dear readers!) look at the Western genre.
Originally published in the February 2011 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here.