Who Owns the West?

by William Kittredge

Paperback, 1996




San Francisco : Mercury House, 1996.


Who owns the West? "All of us, of course," says William Kittredge, but this "simple answer... is sort of beside the point when we get down to considering questions of fairness. Stay joyous under the sun and moon, in the rain and out; that's another halfway answer." Kittredge gives us not easy answers but a sustained meditation on what it means to be a Westerner today. The three essays in Who Owns the West? compose both a celebration of the new West and an elegy for an old West that is fading. Noting that "our ideas of paradise originate in childhood," Kittredge describes, in "Heaven on Earth," growing up in the highland desert country of east Oregon, "an ancient horseback world that is mostly gone." Next, in "Lost Cowboys and Other Westerners," he gives us a series of portraits of inhabitants of the region. Finally, in "Departures," Kittredge turns his eye to the West today, the "new heartland nation" that is being born from the pain and the glory of the past and the struggles and anger of the present.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member torreyhouse
Kittredge is an authentic voice of the West and is a worthy spokesman of both Old West and New West. His observations and thoughts on that divide are insightful and authoritative. In the center of the work he talks a lot about robust problem drinking and is apparent that some of the same is going on while winging out thoughts. The last few pages on story, however, encapsulate the reason Torrey House exists.… (more)


Local notes

inscribed by the author


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