This morning the Houston Chronicle ran an article on a new book, The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel. Long before I’d finished reading, I knew I wanted the book. A few minutes on line told me that my local Barnes & Noble store had copies, and I reserved one to pick up tonight on my way home from work.
Although this blog is mostly about reading, writing, and the adventures of everyday life, an amazing number of my visitors wander in here looking for something related to the TV show Hell on Wheels, and I don’t think a day passes without at least one reader landing here after searching for Cynthia Ann Parker. (WordPress keeps track of such things.)
So I know some of you share my interest in Texas history and old movies, and this book deals with both. Frankel opens with the story of Cynthia Ann, taken by the Comanche at the age of nine or ten, living with them for twenty-five years, marrying, and bearing three children. Forcibly returned to “civilization,” Cynthia Ann died a sad and lonely death but also became a legend.
Part two goes on to tell the story of her son Quanah, the last great Comanche chief, who led his people into the twentieth century. The third section deals with Alan LeMay and his novel, loosely based on Cynthia Ann’s story, and the fourth on the making of the movie.
I’ve seen The Searchers and have the DVD on my shelf, and I’ve read the original LeMay novel, also on my shelf. I won’t post spoilers of either, but I will say that while the first half of the movie follows the first half of the book closely, the second halves diverge considerably. As a writer, I’m interested in that story, too. Now all I need is a little more time to read . . .
There’s been much discussion lately, in this age of electronic marketing, of the process of book discovery. How does a reader find new books, new authors? Are the virtual shelves of amazon or Barnes & Noble as “browsable” as those of a brick and mortar bookstore? Interesting question, and one I’ll talk about another time. But this book I found in my morning newspaper.