Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Ross Santee, Lost Pony Tracks
There he took a job as a "lowly" horse wrangler for an outfit near Globe. Over the years, as a western writer, who illustrated his own books in his distinctive style (now much appreciated), he based his stories and novels on this experience of the everyday lives of men and their horses.
Santee was a perceptive, thoughtful, and observant writer who captured in accounts of incidents and conversations a depth of social history that is hard to find in other books of its kind. It's also rare to find a portrayal of cowboy life so heart-felt.
Many others he writes of are captured with a precise and loving eye for detail. There is a generous spirit and a gentle humor throughout this book that is sometimes sentimental without ever being corny. In his depiction of daily life in an all-male work environment, Santee gets it all right. His books belong on any shelf of western literature.
Coming up: Zane Grey, The Heritage of the Desert (1910)
Posted by Ron Scheer at 6:08 AM
Labels: arizona, book review, cowboy memoirs
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Some folks have that knack for picking out the telling details.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a good one! I respect Santee's mostly writing with admiration for the men he liked, rather than dishing out the vitriol for those he didn't. Too much of the latter in today's memoir strewn plains.ReplyDelete
Nice review. Makes me want to go out and pick up a copy of both of them.ReplyDelete
Charles, it's a knack, all right, something intuitive.ReplyDelete
Richard, admiration has to be heartfelt or it rings false, and for me Santee's always rings true.
Oscar, if you do, you'll like them.
I just finished Ross Santee's "Cowboy" and it's the best book I've read about the Old West since "Grass Beyond the Mountains." Looking forward to reading more and found an affordable, used copy of "Lost Pony Tracks" on Amazon. Thanks for your post!ReplyDelete
Turns out Ross Santee may be in our family tree, possibly related to my grandmother Dorothy Santee Merrick, also from Iowa. If so, "small world!"
COWBOY is one of my very favorites, too. Thanks for dropping by.Delete
I'd like to subscribe by email; missed it the first time I commented. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Ron, is there anywhere I can read more of Santee's writings online? I'm in Central America, so can't go to the library or even get books from Amazon sent here. What a terrific storyteller he is! I even started reading "Cowboy" again front to back as soon as I finished it... if you can believe it. CatherineTodd2 at gmailReplyDelete
Catherine, MEN AND HORSES is available online at Internet Archive: http://archive.org/details/menandhorses008295mbpDelete
At google books search for his story "Wrinkle and I," which is included in two anthologies: OLD DOGS REMEMBERED and TO ABSENT FRIENDS. Also, an essay "Come an' Get It" in ARIZONA HUMORESQUE. Hope this helps.
Thank you so much... going there NOW!ReplyDelete
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