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Other titles in the American Lives series:
This Is Not the Ivy League (American Lives)by Mary Clearman Blew
Synopses & Reviews
Whether they were actually Hungarian or Bohemian, and#8220;Hunkiesand#8221; or and#8220;Bohunks,and#8221; or even from Eastern Europe at all, to the old ranchers of the Great Plains, the farmers and settlers who moved in and fenced off the open land were no-account and#8220;Honyockers.and#8221; And to Honyockers like David Mogenand#8217;s people, who built lives in the face of great difficulty and prejudice, the name came to bear all the meaning and power of their hard-won home place. It is this sense of place, of tenacious if uneasy belonging, that David Mogen traces through his family history in Honyocker Dreams.
Beginning with his fatherand#8217;s reminiscences as he surveys the Montana landscape, Mogen weaves a narrative of memory and history, of the dreams and disappointments of working-class farmers, cowboys, and miners among his ancestors, and of the post-frontier world of Indian reservations and farming towns that endure on the Montana and#8220;Hi-Line,and#8221; the flat expanse of Big Sky country that lies hard against the Canadian border east of the Rockies. From the frontier world of his parents and pioneer ancestors to the boom-and-bust tales about growing up in the small-town world of his own Montana childhood in the 1950s, Mogen travels full circle to recent journeys that reveal the paradoxical burdens and strengths of his fatherand#8217;s cowboy legacy as well as the hidden pain and healing power of his motherand#8217;s homesteading heritage. His is a journey that opens a window on a unique but little-known region of Montana and the West.
The departed men in her life still have plenty to say to Corey. Her father, a legendary rodeo cowboy who punctuated his lifelong pronouncements with a bullet to his head, may be the loudest. But in this story of Montana—a story in which the old West meets the new and tradition has its way with just about everyone—it is Coreys voice we listen to. In this tour-de-force of voices big and small, sure and faltering, hers comes across resonant and clear, directing us to the heart of the matter.
Played out against the mythology of the Old West—a powerful amalgam of ranching history, Marlboro Men, and train robbery reenactments—the story of the newly orphaned, spinsterish Corey is a sometimes comical, sometimes poignant tale of coming-of-age a little late. As she tries to recapture an old dream of becoming a painter—of preserving some modicum of true art amid the virtual reality of modern Montana—Corey finds herself figuring in other dramas as well, other, younger lives already at least as lost as her own.
Just out of high school in 1977, her personal life already a mess, Tracy Crow thought the Marines might straighten her out. And sure enough, in the Corps she became a respected public affairs officer and military journalistand#8212;one day covering tank maneuvers or beach assaults, the next interviewing the secretary of the navy. But success didnand#8217;t come without a price.
When Crow pledged herself to God, Corps, and Country, women Marines were still a rarity, and gender inequality and harassment were rampant. Determined to prove she belonged, Crow always put her career firstand#8212;even when, after two miscarriages and a stillborn child, her marriage to another Marine officer began to deteriorate. And when her affair with a prominent general was exposedand#8212;and both were threatened with court-martialand#8212;Crow was forced to re-evaluate her loyalty to the Marines, her career, and her family.
Eyes Right is Crowand#8217;s story. A clear-eyed self-portrait of a troubled teen bootstrapping her way out of a world of alcoholism and domestic violence, it is also a rare inside look at the Marines from a womanand#8217;s perspective. Her memoir, which includes two Pushcart Prizeand#8211;nominated essays, evokes the challenges of being a woman and a Marine with immediacy and clarity, and in the process reveals how much Crowand#8217;s generation did for todayand#8217;s military women, and at what cost.
About the Author
Mary Clearman Blew is the author of the acclaimed essay collection All But the Waltz; three books of short stories, including Sister Coyote; and is the editor of When Montana and I Were Young: A Memoir of a Frontier Childhood, available in a Bison Books edition. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Idaho and twice has received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, once in fiction and once in nonfiction, as well as the Western Literature Associations Distinguished Achievement Award.
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Biography » General
Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Montana