In the Center of the Nation
Ranching is not an easy occupation, and the land has exacted a heavy toll on four neighbors trying to eke out a living on a harsh South Dakota bench overlooking the Bad Lands. Each has made the sacrifices necessary to achieve the sense of place that becomes O'Brien's central theme. When a mining company targets the area for exploration and excavation, and the local bank quietly begins trying to acquire the land, the full passion of the ranchers is unleashed. O'Brien has created an eloquent novel of the modern American cowboy, analyzing his staunch commitment to the land, his unfailing loyalty to family and friends, his dedication to work, his great congeniality, and his fierce defense when any or all are threatened. A stellar performance. Watch out, Larry McMurtry. Stiff competition lurks just over the northern rise.
- Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale Lib.