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Book cover of Owning It All

Owning It All

by William Kittredge

Publisher: Graywolf Press
ISBN: 9781555973667

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Synopsis of Owning It All

This is a deeply felt and highly informed essay collection about life in the American west by one of the finest writers ever to emerge from that region. As the Seattle Times has said of Owning It All: "You may never again see the American west in quite the same way if you take the time to view it through the eyes of William Kittredge. [This is a] stunning book." Having grown up on his family's cattle ranch in eastern Oregon, Kittredge directly confronts the contradictions and myths that lie at the heart of the Western experience: male freedom and female domesticity, the wild and the tame, self-interest and love of the land.

Publishers Weekly

This is an illustrative and insightful collection of essays on the American West (originally appearing in various magazines) by a man who grew up on a ranch in Oregon and at the age of 33, disillusioned and dissatisfied, left agriculture and turned to writing. Autobiographical sketches describe his early years in the isolated community and are full of rodeo memories and ruminations on his buckaroo days. Other essays consider the boom-town phenomenon, the ``redneck,'' the grizzly bear, the renaissance in native American art. Most notably, the author offers a critique of the popular view of the Westwhich is, according to Kittredge, a disguised mythology of conquest and possession that historically has served as a rationale for violence but which seems to be losing its power. He also notes the deleterious affect of this mythology on agriculture, where the concept of conquest has resulted in a ``dream gone wrong'' and the destruction of the landscape in favor of the ``factory-land.'' Kittredge stands valiantly at the center of a fledgling regional literature emerging from shattered myths and discarded ideals. (June)

About the Author, William Kittredge

William Kittredge grew up on a cattle ranch in Southeast Oregon and farmed there until he was 33, after which he taught Creative Writing at the University of Montana. He is the author of several widely celebrated books on the Western experience, including Hole in the Sky (a memoir) and We Are Not in This Together (a book of short fiction).

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