The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986

Book Reviews

(part of this episode is reproduced in Of America East and West) is an
excellent model of Horgan's "method." Historical documentation does
not support every detail of Horgan's narrative, but we cannot help feel-
ing that this is the way it should have been.
Essentially Horgan is a fiction writer who now and then writes his-
tory. It is in his fiction, therefore, that the reader ought to search for
the real Paul Horgan. The fiction is old-fashioned-in the best sense of
the term "old-fashioned." Horgan is no slave to fashion, certainly, and
he does not wallow in pessimism as do so many of his contemporaries.
Horgan's finest literary attribute is an ability to see deep into the human
heart. He recognizes the frailties of human nature, yet he is saved from
despair by a generous sympathy for his flawed and suffering and some-
times noble species. The novel Far from Cibola, reprinted in full in Of
America East and West, well illustrates these qualities. So does "The Peach
Stone," a short story also included in this anthology. "The Peach Stone"
has virtually no dialogue in it, and precious little "action." The story
takes place entirely in the minds of a family driving from an isolated
New Mexico ranch to the wife's home town, where an infant daughter,
killed in a freakish accident, is to be buried. The mother in particular is
distraught, and yet from her pain there slowly emerges a thoroughly
believable affirmation of life. "The Peach Stone" may not be the best
of Horgan's short stories, but it is undoubtedly one of his most re-
presentative.
According to the dust jacket, Of America East and West has been pub-
lished "in celebration of Paul Horgan's eightieth birthday." As a cele-
bratory volume it is a fitting tribute. All of the various facets of Horgan's
talents and interests are clearly shown in the anthology. For Horgan
buffs there is little in the book that is new. For those unfamiliar with the
scope of his writings, Of America East and West is a helpful introduction
to the work of one of America's best-kept secrets-and one of her most
distinguished and prolific living authors.
Tarleton State University WILLIAM T. PILKINGTON
Land of Bears and Honey: A Natural History of East Texas. By Joe C. Truett
and Daniel Lay. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984. Pp. xx
+176. Foreword, acknowledgments, preface, maps, bibliography,
index. $12.95.)
Ecology is a word most of us learned during the emphasis on such
things in the 196os and early 1970s. Somewhere in our minds lurked
the suspicion that things in nature are linked together and that any in-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed December 18, 2014.