November Wyoming Book Reviews

Nov 5, 2016

canyonsCanyons: a novel
by Samuel Western
McKinleyville, California : Fithian Press, 2015

Way back in the early 70’s two men have an experience that unites them for eternity. What to do? They walk away, they live their lives, while each is tortured by failings and memories.. Eric, a different kind of guy, a talented musician, raised in Nebraska and Ward, son of an important and wealthy family cross paths in Idaho during a college hunting trip. This day changes their lives. Eric goes on to live in California following his music but never realizing his potential.
Ward experiences setbacks and demons and doesn’t work through his feelings. The both succeed on a functional level but the guilt and the anger are always present. A college reunion is scheduled and both are drawn in. War invites Eric to come to Wyoming where they could go on a hunting trip. Each has a plan on how this trip will transpire. Here they are, in a canyon in the back country, both have guns. The reader can feel the tension, you continue to read with dread knowing how this could end.

Cindy Moore, County Librarian
Albany County Public Library

stans-coverThe Day the Whistle Blew: The Life and Death of the Stansbury Coal Camp

by Marilyn Nesbit Wood
Glendo, Wyo.: High Plains Press, 2014

Like a Grandma Moses painting, this book is a genuine, ungarnished account of the company coal town of Stansbury set up by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1944, located north of Rock Springs, Wyoming. Marilyn Nesbit Wood grew up there, where her father, John Nesbit, was a foreman who supervised over three hundred miners in the deep dark. The townsfolk of Stansbury could hardly have hoped for such a sensitive, vivid portrayal of their lives, as told firsthand through the experiences of the Nesbit family. The straightforward writing and memories of the author are poignant, brave, and moving as she describes the day the mine whistle blew for her own family, and how they managed to survive and adapt. Now only a memory, the town itself was eventually bulldozed after the coal seams ceased to be profitable in 1959. This book is highly recommended for documenting the social side of Wyoming coal history. It reveals a remarkable family and serves as a eulogy for an otherwise little remembered town.

Nathan E. Bender, Technical Services Librarian
Albany County Public Library

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