As a reader of roughly half of Connell's oeuvre of some two dozen works, I was unaware of this, though at $45 retail, I am going to need to find a library that stocks it. Too rich for my decidedly unflush pocketbook.
Agree with Billy that "Son of the Morning Star" is one of his more superlative efforts, and he had many. Curiously enough, I recall that when it was first published in early October of 1984, by, I believe, the now-defunct North Point Press, that it was not widely reviewed. In fact, it took the NYT until late-January of the following year to belatedly run Page Stegner's (son of Wallace) positive review. Now, of course, it is, I should think, I should HOPE, considered a "classic" of its kind.
Connell was what is colloquially known as a "writer's writer," which as any writer knows, is the commercial kiss of death. That said, he was the very paragon of a pro. Never married, never had kids, kept his distance from the New York City publishing world and its stupid internecine, even incestuous politics, was wholly, single-mindedly devoted to following his literary muse wherever it might lead him, at whatever the cost, and it led to an extraordinarily wide-ranging body of work, fiction and non-fiction alike, all of it deeply felt and eloquently stated.
He'll be dead nine years this coming Monday, but his work, while not celebrated or widely read during his lifetime, will, I believe, deservedly endure.
An anecdote (from memory, I caution). North Point Press was a small, literary nonfiction house out of Berkeley, but not by any stretch a Western history press. Think M. F. K. Fisher, not Le... more
about North Point. Need to go back and check. I had thought that it had gone dark, but perhaps not. What I suspect occurred is that it ceased publishing at some point, the early 90's if I recall, and ... more
yes, North Point is no more; its back list is apparently distributed by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, part of Macmillan, part of Mr. Big, whatever.
Connell was right, the story is the thing.... more
I had no idea. Terrific stuff. As a rule, I'm an abstract guy myself, but those images of Baskin's do resonate with me. When I first glimpsed the Custer image on the original hardback "Son of" cover, ... more
In his 2008 NYRB review of Custerology, Larry McMurty has this to say:
"Three times in the past twenty years I’ve been asked to write a book about Custer and the Little Bighorn, and each time I’ve ... more
I was going to ask you. Apparently it was a 30-page consideration of Mister McCarty Bonney Kid. Do not know what became of it. (Are McConnell's papers archived at a university or historical society so... more
Thanks. Did not know about Ondaatje's Billy saga, and to further expose my literary blinkers, that he wrote The English Patient. Good grief, this Google fellow I obviously just consulted is ... more
Ondaatje was savaged by a certain nationalist element in Canada for having the temerity to write about "American" subjects. Apparently Canada was peculiarly insular--and insecure--about its literary c... more
Canada is...well, Canada. Overrated by many. While Canada may appear to be a sort of idiot relative of ours, she got her land the same way we got ours - by taking it from them who had it first. Lift t... more
At least about the "similar kind of dirt," though if Canada can be characterized as "a sort of idiot relative of ours," I am happy to raise high a glass to idiocy.
As someone who reads his fair sha... more
I do admire Trudeau's willingness to go full blackface at a moment's notice. And also like us, Canada interred their Japanese citizens during WW2, for their own good, of course. They also keep the nat... more
This I did not know. Leonard Baskin's mournful, seated Custer was originally a 1968 National Park Service poster:
Shortly after the 'Son of the Morning Star' television mini series in 1991, a new interest was generated in the book. When a new edition was released the dust jacket had an image of Gary Cole dressed... more
I cant stand to read that Custer was ignorant. That just is not very well informed. He is still the youngest general in history at 23 and maj general 25. Recognized by Sherman, Sheridan, McClellan ... more
Evan S. Connell was an excellent writer and researcher. 'Son of the Morning Star' was one of the best publications ever written about Custer and the northern and central plains Indian wars. I seem to ... more