The Eye of the Mammoth by Stephen Harrigan
Selected Essays (Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

...he has an uncanny knack for ending his essays in exactly the right place, more often than not carrying what would otherwise have been pleasant and serviceable to a stirring and unusually satisfying conclusion.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

In four decades of writing for magazines ranging from Texas Monthly to the Atlantic, American History, and Travel Holiday, Stephen Harrigan has established himself as one of America’s most thoughtful writers. In this career-spanning anthology, which gathers together essays from two previous books—A Natural State and Comanche Midnight—as well as previously uncollected work, readers finally have a comprehensive collection of Harrigan’s best nonfiction.

History—natural history, human history, and personal history—and place are the cornerstones of The Eye of the Mammoth. But the specific history or place varies considerably from essay to essay. Harrigan’s career has taken him from the Alaska Highway to the Chihuahuan Desert, from the casinos of Monaco to his ancestors’ village in the Czech Republic. Texas is the subject of a number of essays, and a force in shaping others, as in “The Anger of Achilles,” in which a nineteenth-century painting moves the author despite his possessing a “Texan’s suspicion of serious culture.” Harrigan’s deceptively straightforward voice, however, belies an intense curiosity about things that, by his own admission, may be “unknowable.” Certainly, we are limited in what we can know about the inner life of George Washington, the last days of Davy Crockett, or the motives of a caged tiger, but Harrigan’s gift—a gift that has also made him an award-winning novelist—is to bring readers closer to such things, to make them less remote, just as a cave painting in the title essay eerily transmits the living stare of a long-extinct mammoth.

 

About Stephen Harrigan

See more books from this Author
Stephen Harrigan is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, among them the critically acclaimed and best-selling novel The Gates of the Alamo, and two previous collections of essays, A Natural State and Comanche Midnight. His most recent novel, Remember Ben Clayton, won the Jesse H. Jones award for the best work of fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters and the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He is a longtime writer for Texas Monthly and has contributed articles and essays to a wide variety of other magazines. Harrigan is also an award-winning screenwriter who has written many movies for television.
 
Published April 15, 2013 by University of Texas Press. 377 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Eye of the Mammoth
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 13 2013

The final pieces are reflective ones about Texas, homesickness and his screenwriting career. Like sitting next to a loquacious, genial and informative passenger on a slow trans-Texas train.

Read Full Review of The Eye of the Mammoth: Selec... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Apr 08 2013

...he has an uncanny knack for ending his essays in exactly the right place, more often than not carrying what would otherwise have been pleasant and serviceable to a stirring and unusually satisfying conclusion.

Read Full Review of The Eye of the Mammoth: Selec... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Rate this book!

Add Review
×