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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monday, January 26 Deanne Stillman

Particular books both define a topic and become the defining book on that topic. I am thinking of John McPhee’s Oranges, Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death and Mike Davis’s City of Quartz and today add to that list Deanne Stillman’s Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West. Partly investigative journalism into the 1998 massacre of wild mustangs near Reno, Nevada, this singular book tells the story of the wild horse, celebrates the animal and its unbroken spirit and argues on its behalf against the encroachments of civilization and our failure to protect it. Stillman’s Mustang tells a narrative nonfiction history of the wild horse in the West, with a parallel look at the ongoing wars to wipe out the animal, and is also a personal appreciation from an obvious and enthusiastic horse lover. Deanne Stillman is perhaps best known for a remarkable book called Twenty Nine Palms: A True Story of Murder, Marines and the Mojave, which reviewers compared favorably to the work of California nonfiction culture and history truth-tellers like Joan Didion. She has written widely for magazines including Rolling Stone and the LA Times and won awards and acclaim. Stillman’s recent advocacy on behalf of mustangs has made her a player in the discussion as it appeared in the NY Times and other editorial pages, and in policy-making discussions. For more info: http://www.deannestillman.com/mustang.shtml

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