Bo Mason, his wife, Elsa, and their two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks out his fortune—in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running through the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest. Stegner portrays more than thirty years in the life of the Mason family in this masterful, harrowing saga of people trying to survive during the lean years of the early twentieth century.
A remarkable portrait of one of American labor's most enduring legends: Blending fact with fiction, Wallace Stegner retells the story of Joe Hill, the Wobbly bard who became the stuff of legend when, in 1915, he was executed for the alleged murder of a Salt Lake City businessman. Organizer, agitator, "Labor's Songster"--a rebel from the skin inwards, with an absolute faith in the One Big Union--Joe Hill fought tirelessly in the frequently violent battles between organized labor & industry. But tho songs & stories still vaunt him & his legend continues to inspire those who feel the injustices he fought against, Joe Hill may not have been a saintly crusader, & may have been motivated by impulses darker than the search for justice. Joe Hill is full-bodied portrait of both the man & the myth: from his entrance into the short-lived Industrial Workers of the World union, the most militant organization in the history of American labor, to his trial, imprisonment & final martyrdom-- his last words to the I.W.W., "Don't waste time mourning. Organize."
'One of our greatest contemporary novelists' Washington Post
Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City not for his aunt's funeral, but to encounter the place he fled in bitterness forty-five years ago. A successful statesman and diplomat, Mason had buried his awkward childhood to become a figure who commanded international respect. But the realities of the present recede in the face of ghosts of his past. As he makes the perfunctory arrangements for the funeral, his inner pilgrimage leads him to the father who darkened his childhood, the mother whose support was both redeeming and embarrassing, the friend who drew him into the respectable world of which he so craved to be a part, and the woman he nearly married.
In this profoundly moving book, Stegner has drawn an intimate portrait of a man understanding how his life has been shaped by experiences seemingly remote and inconsequential.
"He was precocious, alert, intelligent, brash, challenging, irreverent, literary, self-conscious, insecure, often ostentatiously crude, sometimes insufferable," Wallace Stegner says of Bernard DeVoto, who, in the words of a childhood acquaintance, was also "the ugliest, most disagreeable boy you ever saw." Between the disagreeable boy and the literary lion, a life unfolds, full of comedy and drama, as told in this definitive biography, which brings together two exemplary American men of letters.
Born within a dozen years of one another in small towns in Utah, both men were, as Stegner writes, "novelists by intention, teachers by necessity, and historians by the sheer compulsion of the region that shaped us." From this unique vantage point, Stegner follows DeVoto's path from his beloved but not particularly congenial Utah to the even less congenial Harvard where, galvanized by the disregard of the aesthetes around him, he commenced a career that, over three and a half decades, would embrace nearly every sort of literary enterprise: from modestly successful novels to prize-winning Western histories, from the editorship of the Saturday Review to a famously combative, long-running monthly column in Harper's, "The Easy Chair." A nuanced portrait of a stormy literary life, Stegner's biography of DeVoto is also a window on the tumultuous world of American letters in the twentieth century.
Introduction by Terry Tempest Williams
Afterword by T. H. Watkins
Called a “magnificently crafted story . . . brimming with wisdom” by Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World, Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century. Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.
Wallace Stegner weaves together fiction and nonfiction, history and impressions, childhood remembrance and adult reflections in this unusual portrait of his boyhood. Set in Cypress Hills in southern Saskatchewan, where Stegner's family homesteaded from 1914 to 1920, Wolf Willow: A History, a Story & a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier brings to life both the pioneer community and the magnificent landscape that surrounds it. This Twentieth-Century Classics edition includes a new introductory essay by Page Stegner.
This tour-de-force of American literature and a winner of the National Book Award is a profound, intimate, affecting novel from one of the most esteemed literary minds of the last century and a beloved chronicler of the West.
Joe Allston is a cantankerous, retired literary agent who is, in his own words, "just killing time until time gets around to killing me". His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, has not been his choice. He has passed through life as a spectator, before retreating to the woods of California in the 1970s with only his wife, Ruth, by his side.
When an unexpected postcard from a long-lost friend arrives, Allston returns to the journals of a trip he has taken years before, a journey to his mother's birthplace where he once sought a link with his past. Uncovering this history floods Allston with memories, both grotesque and poignant, and finally vindicates him of his past and lays bare that Joe Allston has never been quite spectator enough.