To Catch the Lightning: A Novel of American Dreaming

To Catch the Lightning: A Novel of American Dreaming

by Alan Cheuse
4.5 2

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To Catch the Lightning: A Novel of American Dreaming 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always wondered who made all those wonderful American Indian photographs. Though the story of the liveds of the people who gave their full time and efforts to recording the people indiginous to this country did not read like a novel, it was interesting and the information captured would have been lost to the rest of us who made this land our own. I never knew that so many states, cities, towns, rivers were named afer the Indian tribes who inhabited our country long before we did (even Manhatten and a hundred or more. I would like to know for sure that the author was true to the facts as were know via Myers notes and/or Edwards family.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
I have often seen volumes of pictures taken by Edward Curtis at book stores. After reading this book, I will never see another volume without thinking of his sacrifice, his obsession and what he saw as his mission in life. The book portrays Curtis as torn between wanting to be a better husband and father but always unable or unwilling to relinquish his obsession with pursuing his mission or what Chief Joseph indicated was his destiny. This mission or destiny was to capture the traditional character and life of the American Indian in photographs and text before this life and the American Indian disappeared. It appears that at least some of the famous Indians that allowed him to take their pictures understood his mission. Curtis is able to take his children along on some of his field trips and rationalize his desire to be a good father with continuing to pursue his life's work. However, he is never able to satisfy his wife's expectations for a full time husband and father that concentrates on a successful business. The book is often narrated by William Myers, the man hired to provide much of the text on the life and customs of the various Indian tribes. Curtis' pictures still surround us but one wonders what happened to this text. The book is also narrated by Jimmy Fly-Wing or provides chapters on his dreams, adventures and trials. Jimmy leaves his people and embraces education but doesn't know how to apply it to help Native Americans until he discovers his destiny or mission of helping Edward Curtis. In some respects, Jimmy Fly-Wing is reminiscent of Ishi, the last of the Yahi and Yana people in California. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether the narration is coming from Curtis or Myers. This is also not a fast paced "shoot em up" or a dramatic mystery. The audience that will appreciate this book are those which enjoy biographies, and that want to understand the character, motivations and trials of a man that is famous for his photographs but nevertheless somewhat obscure. There is no fairy tale ending at least until one realizes that Curtis did fulfill his mission and destiny.