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Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Frontier written by Julie Danneberg

 

Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Frontier written by Julie Danneberg

Overview:

Profiles five notable women driven to write and succeed at a time when ambition in women was viewed as a flaw, not an asset.

Synopsis:

In Women Writers of the West, meet five notable women driven to write and succeed at a time when ambition in women was viewed as a flaw, not an asset. Thanks to Jessie Benton Fremont's vivid descriptions (penned in her husband's name) of her husband Lt. John Fremont's historic explorations, a nation was captivated by the rugged American frontier. Louise Clappe's letters home shared the happiness and hardships in a California gold rush mining camp. Mary Hallock Foote brought the West alive in words and pictures. Helen Hunt Jackson described the ugliness of America's Indian policy in both nonfiction and in her unforgettable novel, Ramona. Finally, Sioux writer Gertrude Bonnin's stories revealed the sweetness of her South Dakota childhood and the bitterness of leaving that life for a government school in Indiana. Many of their works -- poems, stories, novels, letters, and essays -- have lasted more than a hundred years and show today's young readers how each woman's writing was shaped by life in the nineteenth-century American West.

Patricia Moore - KLIATT

This slim volume is well organized, creatively edited and impressively informative about these five writers. Jesse Benton Fremont was the daughter of a powerful senator from Missouri and wife of the well-known explorer and 1856 Republican candidate for the Presidency on whose 1842 and 1846 exploration reports she collaborated. Louise Smith Clappe went west to the gold mining camps with her doctor husband and wrote lively, detailed letters describing life in the California mining camps. These letters were eventually published, in 1854 and 1855. Writer and illustrator Mary Halleck Foote went West with her engineer husband and wrote of her adventures in A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West. Helen Hunt Jackson, famous for her novel Ramona, is less well known for the extensive writing she did to champion the cause of the Native Americans who, in her view, were being badly mistreated by the US Government. Jackson's A Century of Dishonor was published in 1881. Gertrude Bonnin, or Zitkala-Sa, was a Yankton Sioux educated in a missionary boarding school. She eventually returned to her reservation in 1901. She wrote stories taken from her Native American heritage, but she also wrote widely in defense of her people and their rights. A bibliography on each writer is included. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Fulcrum, 87p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to 18.

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Title: Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Frontier

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