From the Publisher
"A pleasure to read ... [Kittredge] has written a remarkably frank account of his own life, and at every stage it was interesting.... You will not have read another Western like this."
Washington Post Book World
"A grand and true story by one of our finest writers."
"The story of the Kittredges ... intersects mightily with the myth of American expansion and 'improvement' of the 'wilderness.'... a valuable memoir that should be read with care ... [Kittredge's] voice should be a prophetic one."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author's grandfather, William Kittredge, began in 1911 to amass what he thought would be paradise for himself and for his descendants: a cattle and farming empire of more than 15,000 acres in the Warner Valley of southeastern Oregon. He reshaped the land and his family to fit the dream. But within the span of three generations, this willed Garden of Eden, which once had drawn the powerful and famous, fell into disarray. The author recounts the destruction not only of the land but of his family and, especially, himself--his flights into alcohol and extramarital affairs. Kittredge ( Owning It All ) parlays vivid prose and storytelling talent to produce a powerful indictment of materialism and its capacity to undermine the spirit and dissolve human connections with the universe. (June)
Kittredge's ( Owning It All , LJ 8/87) breathless and elliptical memoir, set largely in the cattle country of southern Oregon, illuminates a unique struggle of the American West between fealty toward land and the need for new adventure. When in the 1960s Kittredge reached age 35, he and his siblings sold the vast ranch that had belonged to the family for 80 years. His marriage ending, his life a cloud of booze, Kittredge found salvation in the written word. A good part of that word is devoted here to respectful remembrances of the cowboys and drunks who populated the ranch and to the ancestors who left their marks on Kittredge. The rest is devoted to the sparsely populated Great Basin itself. The Great Basin is rarely the subject of Western writing which makes Kittredge's book more welcome. Enjoyable reading.-- Tim Zindel, Sacramento