Last Go Round

Last Go Round

5.0 1
by Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs
     
 
Out of the mists of Oregon lore, Ken Kesey has summoned a long-remembered story he first heard as a boy from his father around a campfire: the "last go round" at the Pendleton Round-Up in 1911, which pitted three cowboys against each other as they rode for the first world broncbusting crown. Photos.

Overview

Out of the mists of Oregon lore, Ken Kesey has summoned a long-remembered story he first heard as a boy from his father around a campfire: the "last go round" at the Pendleton Round-Up in 1911, which pitted three cowboys against each other as they rode for the first world broncbusting crown. Photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The year is 1911, the occasion is the Pendleton, Oregon, Round-Up, and the cast of characters in Kesey's weak new novel (after Sailor Song ) mixes historical and imagined personages in a manner less reminiscent of E. L. Doctorow than of Jack Higgins. In this homage to a vanished genre of pulp fiction, young Tennessean Jonathan E. Lee Spain is on his way to Pendleton with his trusty horse, Stonewall, when he meets Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce of few words, and George Fletcher, a dapper and wildly talented black cowboy. Sundown and Fletcher are the world's top bronc-riders; falling in with them, Spain is given a view of life on the rodeo circuit as experienced by its most talented but ultimately disenfranchised participants. A heavy-drinking Buffalo Bill Cody and his evil sidekick Frank Gotch, the world-champion wrestler whose body and mind mysteriously ran amok after a trip to Mexico, are the story's chief villains, but con men and cheats are not hard to come by in the high-stakes world of show-biz rodeo. Told via flashback by a much older and wiser Spain, who has since lost a hand in the ring, Kesey's tale portrays rodeo as a show mounted at the cost of both human and animal life. But in the end, his overall comic treatment of this and other tragic themes does not ring true. Despite a wealth of historical information, this latest from the Merry Prankster and his collaborator Babbs ( On the Bus ) is a hodgepodge affair, ill-conceived and poorly crafted. But the 16-page photo insert, featuring the novel's real-life players, might be enough to draw aficionados to the book. (July)
Library Journal
Kesey first heard the story of Oregon's 1911 "Pendleton Round-Up" from his father while sitting around a campfire during his youth. This fictionalized account centers around the battle for the first World Bronco-Busting Championship among popular local black cowboy George Fletcher, Nez Perc Indian Jackson Sundown, and a young, white Tennessean named Jonathan E. Lee Spain. Though the three become good friends, their fierce competition for the title carries the story to a dramatic "last go round" to determine a champion. The novel includes photographs of the actual event and a cast of memorable characters such as Buffalo Bill Cody. Kesey and Babbs's down-home style of narrative takes some getting used to, but Kesey's voice is perfect for the narrator. Recommended for general collections.-Mark Watson, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Benjamin Segedin
Meet Johnathan E. Lee Spain from Tennessee, now a grizzled old-timer who for the first time in a couple of decades visits Pendleton, Oregon, to see the rodeo. He takes the occasion to recall his heyday as winner of the first (1911) Pendleton Round Up when he bested seasoned veterans "Nigger George" Fletcher, a local legend, and Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce Indian. In the tall-tale manner of Mark Twain, merry prankster Kesey and accomplice Babbs embellish a tale about real-life events featuring real-life personalities that Kesey's father told 'round the campfire when Ken was a kid. Ribald and folksy, the book captures the Old West multicultural milieu of a small eastern Oregon town crowded with cowboys, Indians, and tourists. Fletcher and Sundown, colorful and larger than life, take young Spain under their wings, educate him in life, and together go up against the calculating William ("Buffalo Bill") Cody and his henchman, wrestler Frank Gotch, who try to engineer the rodeo's outcome. Plenty of bronco busting, roping, riding, and rambunctious carrying-on flesh out the lively yarn, while cameos by Long Tom (an outlaw sorrel Fletcher rides), Parson Montanic (a renowned hell-raiser turned preacher), Prairie Rose Henderson (a rodeo cowgirl), and naturalist John Muir add local color, as do a pack of period photos.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670848836
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
07/28/1994
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

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