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Mari Sandoz Biography

(1896–1966), Old Jules, Slogum House, Capital City, Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas

american native plains novels

American historian, biographer, and novelist, born to Swiss immigrant homesteaders on the northwestern Nebraska frontier. Her childhood memories, her Native American neighbours, and the region of the western Plains inspired her work. From her earliest success, Old Jules (1935), a biography of her father doubly marked by the brutality of his character and the rawness of the Nebraska frontier, Sandoz had difficulties convincing Eastern readers that her presentation of the West was accurate. Slogum House (1937) and Capital City (1939) are allegorical novels, responding to the threat of fascism developing in Europe. Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas (1942) is her Indian-narrated biography of the regional struggles between the native people and the US government, culminating in the murder of the revered Sioux hero. Following her anti-war novel The Tom Walker (1947), Sandoz returned to Native American themes with Cheyenne Autumn (1953), a biography of chiefs Little Wolf and Dull Knife. The Buffalo Hunters: The Story of the Hide Men (1954), The Cattlemen: From the Rio Grande Across the Far Marias (1958), and The Beaver Men: Spearheads of Empire (1964), all focus on plains animals while her novels, Miss Morissa: Doctor of the Gold Trail (1955) and Son of the Gamblin' Man: The Youth of an Artist (1960), feature fictionalized figures from the West, including in the latter work the painter Robert Henri.

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