From Publishers Weekly
"Don't look for a way to make money; find a way to make a living doing what you like to do anyway. Otherwise you're just raising ransom to buy your life back," said Barney Hillerman to his younger brother Tony, now in his 70s, a beloved mystery and nonfiction author (The Great Taos Bank Robbery; etc.). But Hillerman's nurturers were many, starting with his fearless mother, who as a teenager at the turn of the century established an Oklahoma homestead by herself. Even as death claimed her husband and WWII took Barney's life, Lucy Hillerman insisted that her youngest son follow his heart into soldiering. The author shares his humble beginnings in Potawatomie County, Okla., his parents' backgrounds and their strong Catholic faith, before devoting eight of 30 chapters to his military stint, which ended when he was 20. After recovering from a major injury, Hillerman, by a "fortuitous typo," was left off the homeward-bound list and thus set "on a collision course with two Navajo marines... and with the Enemy Way ceremonial their family was holding.... That put me in contact with the people I would love to write about." He details military people and places that he incorporated into his Navajo mysteries; a particularly predatory fellow from his training days, for example, became the bad guy in The People of Darkness. His wife, Marie, shuns personal attention, focusing instead on her husband and his work. They both take joy in their biological and adopted children. Hillerman is best with the many characteristically vivid descriptions of people, places and events. He deftly details his work and personal life, yet the man himself remains largely a mystery. Fans, however, will never be disappointed by this utterly delightful memoir. 16 pages b & w photos not seen by PW. (On sale Oct. 2)Forecast: Hillerman's fans will turn out en masse for this.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Winner of both Edgar and Grand Master awards and former president of Mystery Writers of America, Hillerman (Hunting Badger and many others) has written a memoir that is sure to become another best seller. He relates his childhood in Oklahoma during the Depression, his service in World War II, his university education, his career in journalism and academia, and his eventual turn to writing mysteries. The entire book will appeal to his fans, but the first half is intensely gripping. Enlisting in the army even though he was exempt, Hillerman became an infantryman and served during the Battle of the Bulge. He tells of his experiences in battle, including being severely wounded. Like so many of his generation, Hillerman returned home, married, and carried on with his life. He relates all of his experiences with honesty and humor. This memoir is sure to provide his fans with much to consider and should also introduce him to new readers. Highly recommended for all collections.
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- Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.