Roughing It was an interesting book with a mixture of some dull parts, and many unbelievable tales. Mark Twain lives up to his reputation of being a bRoughing It was an interesting book with a mixture of some dull parts, and many unbelievable tales. Mark Twain lives up to his reputation of being a bit of an exaggerator. In this supposed autobiography of his adventures traveling to the West and the time he spent there, he puts the exaggeration on other folks. The book is more a series of essays of individual stories of interesting events that happened, but could these things really happened? Perhaps it did, but likely not exactly. Take the one where there's a group out hunting buffalo. They run across a bull and this one fellow ends up telling how the bull chased him up a tree, then came up the tree. Twain even remarks how the fellows don't believe this guy, but the man swears it happened and they weren't there to see it, so how can they say otherwise? Thus it isn't Twain who is exaggerating, but this other guy. We see this pattern with Twain over and over...more
The story takes place in 1911 in Northern Nevada. A fictional account of historical events, but kept close to the history. Most Native Americans haveThe story takes place in 1911 in Northern Nevada. A fictional account of historical events, but kept close to the history. Most Native Americans have been sent to reservations and their old way of life has died. One man and his family attempt to live a little like the old ways, but it is difficult as the “white” man is everywhere and the animals they used to hunt to sustain their life has been replaced with cattle.
The clash between this one family and the other Nevadan residents is one of the last battles between cultures as the native peoples way of life dies. Although it is a sympathetic view to side with a dying culture, the author takes every side to this story and relates that view point well. You are in the mind of the county sheriff’s wife and the county sheriff, the son of one of the murdered Basque men, a vigilante on the posse hunting down the killers, and you have view of the daughter of old Shoshone Mike, and a catholic priest.
Although there are many different views it is written well enough that it isn’t confusing. The only confusion I had was near the beginning when the time line wasn’t direct. This shifting around did give me pause once or twice trying to figure out where the story was. A minor flaw in an otherwise well written story bringing to life details of an unfortunate past....more
I loved how the author kept this fiction as close to fact as possible. It's absolutely amazing what they did in the Nevada desert testing nuclear bombI loved how the author kept this fiction as close to fact as possible. It's absolutely amazing what they did in the Nevada desert testing nuclear bombs, and this book covers just one series - the Upshot-Knothole which was 11 bombs dropped onto southern Nevada soil, with all the fallout, during March to June 1953. Amazing how many and how frequent!
Each chapter has a story from a different character point of view, different type of job all surrounding this series: reporter, secretary, 12-year old future vet, radiation specialist, FBI agent posed as bartender, mother who is outside during the raining fallout in Utah, soldier sent out in the trenches at ground zero, and a scientist who wonders if this is all worth it, just some of the characters. Their stories occasionally overlap, and most are patriotic and are all for the testing thinking it will help us beat the commies. Perhaps it did. ...more
Great book!! What is missing are notes, references, index, something where all this great information can be looked up and delve deeper. Since Lake TaGreat book!! What is missing are notes, references, index, something where all this great information can be looked up and delve deeper. Since Lake Tahoe is in my backyard I really enjoyed the stories from this area.
I believe the author presented different sides of some of the story, although the tales of Cal/Neva with Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe do not have a set of hard facts. He apparently waded through volumes of information and gleaned a tale that may be true, but without all the references it makes it more difficult to verify. I will give him that he does list book titles often throughout the text, and there is a very short section in the acknowledgements where he lists some very useful titles of books he read.
Okay, so I'm going on about that, but this is a great book to read about the area. Lots of fascinating folks have lived here - from Sarah Winnemucca to Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain (his time here was when he changed his name), to John Steinbeck and Bertrand Russell. Great writing style as well. I borrowed the book from the library and now think I should buy a copy. It's a book I'd read again. ...more