Winner of the Western Heritage Award et al

Review by Charles Williams

In 1893, a prominent historian named Fredrick Jackson Turner presented a paper which came to be known as "The Frontier Thesis." He postulated that the unique and rugged American character was forged by the clash of civilization with the untamed wilderness in the American West. While recent historians have taken issue with Turner, D. B. Jackson has illustrated and depicted the Frontier Thesis in an intensely human way. His heroes (and heroines) are at once flawed and courageous, his villains savage and evil, yet capable of fortitude and cunning, and it's almost impossible not to see the boy Matthew as anything but the soul of the new country. However tempting it is to read great and transcendental themes into the book, it is still in essence an engrossing and exciting story about a time when the West was the frontier. The Civil War broke many men, scraped away their veneer of civilization and sent them West. General Ike Smith, Jackson's memorable villain, seems almost overdrawn until one reads of real men such as Bloody Bill Anderson, William Quantrill, or the James boys. At the same time, people in the West were attempting to make a living in a partially tamed and raw land. Jackson's feeling and love for this land, still little changed away from the road, and the challenges and every-day tasks still facing ranchers give this book an extra ring of authenticity. It is a remarkable book to be enjoyed on many levels, the most important of which is that of a master storyteller at the peak of his craft. UNBROKE HORSES is richly deserving of its selection as The Will Rogers Medallion Award Winner for Western Fiction.--Review by Charles Williams

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