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and seasonal round unfolded in a landscape of rimrock and sage, and thedesert panorama from their Steens Mountain homestead encompassed a view greater than some New England states. Homesteading theAmerican West is often viewed as the rush to theGreat Plains in the years immediately after the Civil War. Less well known is the homestead era of the early twentiethcentury in the High Desert of eastern California and Nevada, eastern Oregon and southeastern Idaho. Even today,this isarguably themost remote and empty landscape in the United States outside ofAlaska. It is therefore not surprising that it still offered land and opportunity to Ben O'Keeffe and his family when they started their small sheep outfit on the southern slope of SteensMountain in 1930. McVicker's memories of her childhood are a valuable addition to the catalog of literature that chronicles the West's homestead era. At firstglance, the accounts of the chores to be done, of tending to livestock, and of the one room school and meager collection of build ings thatmade up the nearby community of Fields might seem to cover no new ground, but there is in factmuch new ground to be discovered here by readers. Child ofSteensMountain is a rare view of an Irish immigrant fatherand his familyper severing through isolation and adversitywith a self-sufficient drive thatwould do credit to settlers inColonial America but takesplace in theyears of theGreat Depression. Stories of the school children of Fields helping build a rock home for the school teacher and theO'Keeffe familyhauling their daily water a quarter of amile inbuckets are juxtaposed with family frustrationswith theTaylor Grazing Act and the challenges ofWorld War II gas rationing in a landscape of vast distances. The unique story resultingfrom the time frame of McVicker's account isenhanced byher vivid and affectionatedescriptions of the High Desert landscape and cast of characters that made up her childhood world; to paraphrase a famous movie line: "we aren't in Kansas anymore!" She describes the family's summer sheep camp inhigh aspen fringed meadows and lakesof the Steens aswell as the ancient playas of theAlvord Desert and Harney Basin. Visitors to theO'Keeffe home andmembers of the communities of Fields and Burns range from immigrant Irish and Basque herders to buckaroos, miners, Civilian Conservation Corps kids, and a few hardy fellow home steaders. Child ofSteens Mountain isan enjoyable and informativeview into the lives of one family and their desert community, living the final days of a way of life little changed from the region'snineteenth century frontierera, in the process of being changed foreverby themid twentiethcentury.Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker's personal perspective on this timeof transition on theOregon High Desert should be well received by thepublic interested in thehistory of the SteensMountain country. Itwould be a valuable tool for teacherswho seek toperson alize the experience of theGreat Depression in the region and an excellent companion for travelers exploring that corner of Oregon's outback. Robert G. Boyd High DesertMuseum SOLIDARITY STORIES:ANORAL HISTORY OF THE ILWU by Harvey Schwartz University ofWashington Press, Seattle, 2009. Photographs, notes, index. 352 pages. $50.00 cloth. $24.95 paper. Few unions have been as primary to the labor history of the West Coast as the International Longshoremen's andWarehousemen's Union (ILWU). One thinksof the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) for radicalism and trag 638 OHQ vol. no, no. 4 edy, the InternationalWoodworkers Associa tion fortheorganization of a key sectorof the western economy, and lately, the teachers' and public employee unions forthedevelopment of realpolitical power on behalf of its workers. But no union compares to the ILWU forconsistent color and aggressiveness in the narrative of Pacific coast labor-management relationsof the twentieth century. Its foremost leader,Harry Bridges (1901-1990), stillbestrides the region's laborhistory,and theunion's violent coastwide strikeof 1934 still stands out as a landmark of industrial conflict in the West. For these reasons, thisbook on the ILWU by Harvey Schwartz, curator of the ILWU's own oral history collection, is important. Its titlespeaks toboth its strengthand weakness. Although ithas a clear organization with the narratives grouped by port, itis,like most oral histories, a collection of somewhat random reminiscences, as it in fact purports...
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