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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Reading books

  • The mornings vary in temperature as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard. Some days I walk in shorts, one day I wore long pants and a jacket. Winter is on its way.
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  • The mornings vary in temperature as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard. Some days I walk in shorts, one day I wore long pants and a jacket. Winter is on its way.
    I was thinking about a book I recently read as I walked along the other day — “Conquering Horse.” It was written by Frederick Manfred and was about Native American plains Indians prior to white settlers coming to the American Great Plains.
    This young man loved a girl, but could not court her because he had no name and no horses for a dowry. Yes, you may have guessed it, he went on an expedition to catch wild horses and to obtain a name.
    Eventually, he found a mountain canyon with a herd of wild horses led by a pure white stallion and two pure white mares. In time, the young man earns the name of Conquering Horse.
    The author Frederick Manfred was the resident writer at the college where I graduated. He spoke to some of the classes I attended. So, long ago, I read some of Manfred's other books.
     I recall one time he told my class how he did the research for his book “Lord Grizzly.” This book was based on the struggles of Hugh Glass, who was mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead. Glass crawled many miles back to civilization. Frederick Manfred walked the same trail that Hugh Glass crawled.
    Manfred's “The Scarlet Plume” is based on the Indian uprising of 1862 and follows the adventures of a young white woman captive and how she adapted to the situation. Most of Manfred's books are based on the history of Southwest Minnesota, where he lived.
    Recently, I read a review of a new non-fiction book from this same area. It is called “Murder in Gales: A Rose Hanged Twice.” This book is based upon a murder and the trial of a suspected murderer.
    The unique part of the tale is that the courts tried the man three times before he was found guilty. Then when they went to hang him, the rope broke. They got a new rope and hanged him a second time.
    Doesn't sound too fair, does it?
    I hope to read this book in the future. And I recommend if you like stories of the frontier and of tough frontier men and women, check out one of Frederick Manfred's stories.
    Take a walk, read a book, used those signal lights, remember pedestrians are harder to see in the dark, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.
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