Review by Martha Quillen
Various Books – December 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine
One thing I like having is all those Caroline Bancroft booklets from Johnson Publishing. Friends who consider themselves serious historians tease me about my fascination with Bancroft’s light, diverting tales — and I have to admit that Bancroft’s treatment of Baby Doe is definitely more of a novel than a history.
But Bancroft made the legends. Bancroft’s stories about Baby Doe, Molly Brown, Laura Evans, and a host of others, are the tales that grew into myths. Moreover, Bancroft’s work makes Colorado lore accessible to practically everyone — even those with a significant aversion toward historical text. Besides, it’s Christmas, not National Education Day.
Also, I’d like to recommend the book I reviewed in this issue, To Catch A Star by Florence McCarty. A turn of the century family history, it’s fast, informative, interesting — and illustrated.
Tomboy Bride (by Harriet Fish Backus from Pruett Publishing) is another great personal narrative about living in mining camps. If you’ve got time this holiday season, these two books make an entertaining duo. Both of them include numerous humorous and hair-raising stories about the authors’ actual experiences.
My final recommendation: We’ve got a lot of really talented writers right here in Central Colorado. You can enjoy history with Steve Voynick, Dick Dixon, Les Messamer, and Eleanor Perry (Harrington), or read poetry by Peggy Godfrey, Lynda LaRocca, and Laurie Wagner Buyer.
For more information on local authors, ask your favorite bookseller for suggestions.