New Spun Yarns From Across the Big Divide: More Ghost Writings of Charles M. Russell
Richard Bird Baker
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (11/13)
Richard Bird Baker continues in the tradition of Charles M. Russell in his new book “New Spun Yarns from Across the Big Divide: More Ghost Writings of Charles M. Russell.” This is the third in the series of books following the theme and style of “Letters from Across the Big Divide,” in which Baker has used Charles M. Russell as the narrator.
Charles M. Russell is considered by many to be America’s best “storyteller, humorist, and sagebrush philosopher.” I am fascinated with Baker’s use of the concept of ghost writing; imitating the style, personality, and voice of a third person narrator. I was further intrigued by his use of a well-known deceased personality and author for his narrator, especially one as unique as Mr. Russell.
The introduction by the late Nancy Russell adds a note of credibility, authenticity, and endorsement to the quality of Bird’s writing. Russell’s “Rawhide Rawlins Stories,” written nearly nine decades ago, are still being read today and are available on Kindle.
Baker captures the essence of Russell’s writing, his good-natured wry humor, his satiric wit, his unique slant on ethics and philosophy of life, and his sage proverbial “plain old horse sense.” I found myself laughing out loud, widely grinning, and chuckling through my favorite chapters, which include: Mail Order Brides, Cowboy Proverbs and Ethics, and The Dragon in the Silver Dollar. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the “Ink Talk” black and white pictures at the beginning of each chapter, as well as the other art work included throughout the narrative.
“New Spun Yarns from Across the Big Divide: More Ghost Writings of Charles M. Russell” by Richard Bird Baker is a brilliant tribute to “the greatest American Cowboy artist and storyteller.”