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Great Plains Audio Cassette – Feb 1 1991


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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Audio (Feb. 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559943602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559943604
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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By Ross E. Nelson on July 14 2004
Format: Paperback
Let me add just these two things to the remarks of the many other reviewers: Ian Frazier's rhapsodic discussion of the joy the Great Plains engender (like the mysticism of deserts and the melancholy of moors) is good reading. Sitting Bull, though not an eyewitness, reported that Custer fell laughing in his last battle. Frazier expertly uses this intriguing anecdote to discuss the joy he connects with the Plains.
And that last page of the book! This is some of the best and most evocative prose I've read anywhere. It's worth the price of the book to read that one page. It's nearly hypnotic and I hope soon to memorize the entire ending.
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Format: Paperback
Frazier's book portrays the middle of America truly and entertainingly. He basically condenses his wanderings through the plains region of America into several vignettes, historical personages and occurences that convey a sense of this place. Most of what passes for "American" these days comes from the much more populous bi-coastal regions. But there is still a core of small towns, farms and small businesses that exists in our collective memories and Frazier found the real-life remnants of this culture.
This book is well-written and entertaining. The small events that Frazier uses to illustrate the great plains region of the US are excellent vignettes that portray a deeper meaning than just the event itself. For example, the author is attending a community get-together in Nicodemus, Kansas where diverse groups of people are enjoying each others company and experiences a joyful epiphany. "This democracy, this land of freedom and equality and the pursuit of happiness -- it could have worked! There is something to it, after all!" I hope everyone has one of those moments occasionally and it is a joy to read Frazier's retelling of his.
Frazier does a great job of examining controversial events without throwing in snide sarcasms that seem to pass for commentary these days. Case-in-point is his stories about Crazy Horse and other plains Indians and Custer and the whites who interacted with them. He assigns equal doses of blame and credit to both sides. I loved his pages on Crazy Horse and also the pages about an exuberant Custer who loved the plains region just as deeply as the Indians. The quote Frazier uses "For bringing us the horse we could almost forgive you for bringing us whiskey" sums up the fine edge that Frazier balances on so well.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I thoroughly enjoyed the audio tape version of this book and wished it were longer. If there was an unabridged version, I would buy it. I kept this in my car tape player for a week or so while doing short errands, and found myself sitting in the car in parking lots listening a little longer when I should have been getting out and getting my errands over with. Frazier is the ultimate dry-humorist with a very humble style, layering facts upon facts, upon observations notebook-style and leaving me chuckling without him ever having "cracked a joke." The tape simultaneously made me want to drive through the Great Plains while also making me feel that if I never do visit the region I have a much better idea of it. I learned about Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, General Custer, contemporary folks, the land, much more. What is particular noteworthy about this tape, is that unlike so many audio books, this one is read by the author himself. While not the sonorous-voiced typical narrator I was expecting, I ultimately found Frazier's voice particularly charming and satisfying, knowing that probably no one else could capture the essence and tone of the work so well. There is compassion in his voice, enthusiasm, wonderment and wry humor. This tape set was fun, humorous, educational, heartfelt, and as open and breezy as the Great Plains. Thank you Ian Frazier!
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Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me as a good read before embarking on a road trip to North Dakota this summer. It's a great portrait of the plains from someone who clearly loves them, and enjoys the contradiction of celebrating as heroes both Custer and Crazy Horse, Billy the Kid and Anabaptist settlers.
Frazier has talent, but what he really needs is an editor. It's not that the book is long--in fact, it's an easy read--but it's uneven. The nearly stream-of-consciousness first chapter is brilliant, managing to evoke a trip to the Great Plains as being as much of an adventure now, when it's merely flyover, as it was when it was the frontier. And he does a very fine job of discussing the environmental degradation of the plains without letting the text get bogged down. But when he goes off on (another) stream-of-consciousness rhapsody about the joy inspired by a fashion show in small-town Kansas, it's embarrassing. And the ending chapter, set back in New York City, feels predictable and forced.
But don't let these flaws deter you from buying this book. If you have any interest in the subject matter, it's an engrossing read that'll make you want to see the plains for yourself. Which I'll be doing very soon now.
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By A Customer on May 31 2003
Format: Paperback
Imagine a car trip thru the Plains states with Umberto Eco and Bill Bryson. You are along in the back seat. As you drive along Umberto enlightens on western lore....Crazy Horse as American culture hero, Lawrence Welk as a musical powerhouse, smallpox vaccination programs for Indians in the 1830's, the ecological importance of tumbleweeds, and on and on. Bill takes us to see Sitting Bull's house lot, abondoned ABM control centers, a cattle ranch 50 miles long, off beat museums, cheap motels. There's plenty of hitchhikers and odd characters along the way to add their stories. Neither one of these authors are in the book, but to me Frazier has the many of their good attributes and it makes for a most plesant read. As you turn the pages you don't know what's around the next bend. But for sure there's going to be bizzare revelations and fun sightseeing. My favorite chapter is #4. It's sort of how the west was tamed. Told in a stream of conscieness using fact/sentences barely related, it's good. Frazier really knows Indians and western lore. I'm sure you'll find it a fun read and maybe see the plains diferently.
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