Mountain Blood

Will Baker
Selected by Annie Dillard

Looking back on the American West as a place and a state of mind


“Extraordinarily splendid writing. . . . Mountain Blood captures the independent spirit and sensibility of the American West.”

“Strong prose writing in the tradition of A River Runs Through It—writing which does not strain to be literary, but which instead evokes a vivid world of people and events.”
—Annie Dillard

“Baker takes the past, breathes life into it, and makes readers connect themselves to those who have gone before. He makes what has happened in the past matter now.”
Columbus Dispatch

“Well written, humorous, and insightful.”
Library Journal

“Powerful evocations of the American West, past and present.”
Publishers Weekly

“Read this book for the muscle of its sentences; for the stories that could live as happily in a fine novel as in the shameless mouth of a relative; and for the freedom it will give you in your own life and writing.”
Kenyon Review

“Worth reading not only because Will Baker tells a good story, and he surely does, but because he takes the extra step of wondering why these stories occurred in the first place.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“There are essays and there are essays. And there are yarns, tales, legends, homilies, reminiscences, and testimonies. And then there is Will Baker's Mountain Blood, described by each of these nouns and defined by none. . . . One closes Mountain Blood with a notion of what an essay can be, grateful for the flexibility of the genre. Even more, one closes the book grateful for the flexibility of Baker's talent.”
Prairie Schooner

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The recollections and yarns, historical meditations and reportage brought together in Mountain Blood display a sensibility formed by the harsh, outlandishly beautiful terrain of the American West. Will Baker’s tales range from Nebraska to Peru and tell of a boy’s first trout, a bar brawl over a woman, and the vise-like grip of gold over all of the Americas. They spring from an imagination shaped by wild, circuitous mealtime stories of prospectors and from the bitter history of a place where suburban ranch houses dot the vast sweep of land once hunted by the Lakotah.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

Page count: 192
15 b&w photos
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $19.95

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Will Baker (1935–2005) was a professor of English at the University of California, Davis. His books include Backward: An Essay on Indians, Time, and Photography and Tony and the Cows: A True Story from the Range Wars.