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Silhouette on a Wide Land

Silhouette on a Wide Land

by Alan S. Kesselheim

A thoughtful, compelling account of a life that appears on the surface to be merely mundane tasks-learning to drive a tractor, planting wheat, aiding a sick cow-but that is as deep as the canyons that carve out the high plains.


A thoughtful, compelling account of a life that appears on the surface to be merely mundane tasks-learning to drive a tractor, planting wheat, aiding a sick cow-but that is as deep as the canyons that carve out the high plains.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Flat, dry and lonesome, eastern Colorado is one of America's least examined regions. During a recent year, Kesselheim (Water and Sky) worked on a ranch there, living alone six miles from the nearest neighbors, tending cattle, mending fences and performing odd jobs for an absentee landlord. Although alien to such barren lands and inexperienced in this line of work, college-educated Kesselheim found the seemingly empty environs growing on him, but never enough to prompt him to plunk down roots. In this evocative account of that year on the High Plains range, he vividly captures the tedium, the few joys and the continual hardships of living on the unforgiving soil, and recalls a two-day blizzard and its devastating effects on his psyche and his wallet. (Sept.)
Gilbert Taylor
Always interesting, Kesselheim's slim chronicle of the year he never planned to spend working a ranch in the high plains of eastern Colorado achieves in its initial chapters a narrative rhythm nothing less than mesmerizing. Just graduated from college, Kesselheim was drifting--occupationally and spiritually--and broke when Norman Steiger, owner of a ranch on Route 94 east of Colorado Springs, offered him a job. He took it knowing nothing about the work and expecting to stay only briefly. He found it anything but routine as, expecting to quit or run out of work at any moment, he learned to fix fences, drive a tractor, tend cattle, lay electric cable with a ditch witch, survive blizzards, etc. The longer he stayed, the less contact he had with other humans; and during his account of this development, the more entrancing his prose becomes--and without waxing either lyrical or philosophical. If readers ultimately do not come to share Kesselheim's experience of the interface of boredom and mysticism, they will at least find themselves empathizing with it. A satisfying book by a writer worth watching. -"Roland Wulbert *** BOR H1 Adult Books H2 Nonfiction H3 History AUTH Koch, Edward I. AUTH2 Paisner, Daniel ILLUS TITLE Citizen Koch TITLR 245C PUBD Sept. 1992 PAGES 304p PHD illus. PUBL St. Martin's FORM hardcover PRICE $22.95 ISBN (0-312-08161-8) FORM2 PRICE2 ISBN2 RFORM Galley CAT 974.7'1043 [B] Mayors--New York (N.Y.)--Biography || New York (N.Y.)--Politics and government--1951- [OCLC] 92-18669 REVIEW Gabby, caustic, funny, a self-described liberal with sanity, Koch has a blustering public persona backed by astute, subway-stop politicking; and New York voters rewarded him with a ladder of electoral successes: city councilman, U.S. congressman, and thrice mayor. He wrote about these heydays in "Mayor" and "Politics", in his inimitably non-Aristotelean, straight-from-the-lip fashion, and here he reminisces about his pre- and postpolitical life. Raised by Polish immigrants who struggled through the Depression, he says the whole world seemed Jewish to him until, drafted into the army, he lost a fight to an anti-Semite but won respect from the unit. Pausing for a few ghastly war stories from skirmishes he survived in Holland, Koch then engagingly regales with anecdotes about a galaxy of personalities, from those he detests (Mario Cuomo) to those he admires (Mother Theresa). The subject likely to attract Koch-watchers the most, however, is the bribery scandal in his third mayoral term that resulted in several jailings, one suicide, and one contemplated suicide: his own. That crisis, too, did pass, leaving intact Koch's life and clean-guy repute. Hizzoner has previously climbed the best-seller charts, and even if this garrulous story of his favorite subject--himself--may not ascend as high, it augers to interest haters or lovers of the Big Apple, i.e., everybody.

Product Details

Fulcrum Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Alan S. Kesselheim lives with his family in Bozeman, Montana. He is a contributing editor to Canoe magazine and writes for a number of other publications. He and his wife, Marypat Zitzer, have canoed the far north several times, explored southwestern deserts, pedaled thousands of miles on bike tours, skied and backpacked through the Rockies and hiked the Appalachian Trail.

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