Across the Cimarron is a fine, fine novel, that deserves a broad readership-of those interested in the history of the American West-and of lovers of powerfully engaging fiction. The narrative voice is generally spare and direct, with moments of great passion and deep feeling. The story is mainly one of hardship and struggle, interspersed with scenes of neighborliness and developing community. What brings the story to life is the beautiful, effective use of historical and geographical detail-and language. Wilson's deep knowledge of the story he is telling is evident on every page, as when he describes the homesteaders who failed as having been "starved out."
Like the great novels in the realist tradition whose ranks it deserves to join, Across the Cimarron displays a strong social conscience, especially with regard to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people on whose ancestral land the Land Run settlers made they lives-and the Black settlers, who almost immediately experienced discrimination and segregation that barred their children from the little log-framed school they had helped build.
This is a gripping, compelling work of historical fiction. I loved it, and was sorry to see it end.
--David Gross, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Oklahoma