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Claiming Ground

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Claiming Ground Cover

ISBN13: 9780307272881
ISBN10: 0307272885
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1977, Laura Bell, at loose ends after graduating from college, leaves her family home in Kentucky for a wild and unexpected adventure: herding sheep in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. Inexorably drawn to this life of solitude and physical toil, a young woman in a man's world, she is perhaps the strangest member of this beguiling community of drunks and eccentrics. So begins her unabating search for a place to belong and for the raw materials with which to create a home and family of her own. Yet only through time and distance does she acquire the wisdom that allows her to see the love she lived through and sometimes left behind.

By turns cattle rancher, forest ranger, outfitter, masseuse, wife and mother, Bell vividly recounts her struggle to find solid earth in which to put down roots. Brimming with careful insight and written in a spare, radiant prose, her story is a heart-wrenching ode to the rough, enormous beauty of the Western landscape and the peculiar sweetness of hard labor, to finding oneself even in isolation, to a life formed by nature, and to the redemption of love, whether given or received.

Quietly profound and moving, astonishing in its honesty, in its deep familiarity with country rarely seen so clearly, and in beauties all its own, Claiming Ground is a truly singular memoir.

Review:

"For 22-year-old Bell, the summer of 1977 fulfilled a childhood dream, a time that she narrates in this wonderfully written, if understated, memoir. Living in a remote Wyoming cabin, she spent days perched atop a 16-hand red roan gelding, exploring the harsh, rugged beauty of the Big Horn Basin. That fall she accepted a winter job in the lambing sheds of Whistle Creek Ranch. 'I'd gone because I was drawn to this nomadic life of horses and sheep and dogs. I'd gone because I was young and lost and had no idea where else to go. I arrived in the snows of February, twenty degrees below zero, and made my home in a sheep wagon parked under the bare-branched cottonwoods of the Whistle Creek Ranch.' Over the years Bell worked as a sheep herder, cattle hand, forest ranger, outfitter, masseuse, wife, and mother. Bell's extraordinary ability to impart a true sense of place on each page reveals a stark and stunning landscape populated with a playbill of peculiar personalities attracted to a life of solitude and hard physical work, and her life within this remarkable world." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Laura Bells work has been published in several collections, and from the Wyoming Arts Council she has received two literature fellowships as well as the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Award and the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. She lives in Cody, Wyoming, and since 2000 has worked there for the Nature Conservancy.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Denise Morland, June 12, 2010 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Laura Bell's Claiming Ground is a memoir of a wild, lonely, beautiful life lived in the mountains of Wyoming. When she took a job as a shepherd working for the Lewis Ranch Laura found the place she belonged. Among tough, hardworking people, many of them running from various demons she learns about love and loss the hard way.
The language in this book is what strikes you first. Laura uses gorgeous prose to describe the landscape that she clearly loves. You really feel like you could be there in these truly wild and free places. She vividly conveys the feeling of being alone in the places with nothing but her dogs, horse, and sheep for company for long stretches of time. The story ends up being a slow, sad one, with only the Wyoming mountains offering redemption and solace. I wish it could have had a different ending, but I appreciate her honesty and refusal to sugar coat the hard facts of life. If you read western literature you will enjoy this memoir.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307272881
Author:
Bell, Laura
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Wyoming
Subject:
Ranch life -- Wyoming.
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Biography - General
Publication Date:
20100331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.66x6.10x1.09 in. .89 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Americana » Western States
History and Social Science » Americana » Wyoming

Claiming Ground Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307272881 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "For 22-year-old Bell, the summer of 1977 fulfilled a childhood dream, a time that she narrates in this wonderfully written, if understated, memoir. Living in a remote Wyoming cabin, she spent days perched atop a 16-hand red roan gelding, exploring the harsh, rugged beauty of the Big Horn Basin. That fall she accepted a winter job in the lambing sheds of Whistle Creek Ranch. 'I'd gone because I was drawn to this nomadic life of horses and sheep and dogs. I'd gone because I was young and lost and had no idea where else to go. I arrived in the snows of February, twenty degrees below zero, and made my home in a sheep wagon parked under the bare-branched cottonwoods of the Whistle Creek Ranch.' Over the years Bell worked as a sheep herder, cattle hand, forest ranger, outfitter, masseuse, wife, and mother. Bell's extraordinary ability to impart a true sense of place on each page reveals a stark and stunning landscape populated with a playbill of peculiar personalities attracted to a life of solitude and hard physical work, and her life within this remarkable world." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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