4 out of 4 stars
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In the ruthless Nevada desert, with nothing but a herd of mustangs for company, Dakota Duval spends his nights releasing balloons into the air and recording their movement as a weather airman for Nevada Test Site. Faced with racism and hostility at work, seeing the mustangs became the highlight of his days. Their beauty, strength and team spirit fascinated him.
Quanah is the first child of Bronco and Nevada Winnemucca, a Native American family of mustangers. Raised with love and respect for her ancestry and culture, she has a lot to do to live up to her heroes and family expectations. Her family's dwindling finances drove her to work as a waitress in a bar where she met and became friends with Dakota. Their shared heritage and love for mustangs draw them together. Their friendship blossomed until Quanah’s father went missing. Quanah is convinced that the key to finding him lies with Dakota, but first, he must become a mustanger.
Quanah: Last Of The Paiute Warriors is written by Steve Gladish. Steve’s storytelling skills and experience as an airman comes to the fore in his lucid descriptions of the Nevadian scenery and the everyday operations of the test site Dakota works. He did a superb job of highlighting the struggles and triumphs of Native Americans, past and present. Also, the characters are so well developed; I felt like I watched them grow up. Quanah’s mettle and intelligence are remarkable.
As a culture enthusiast, I have an affinity for books with a cultural theme. It's no surprise that my favourite aspect of this book is its richness in Native American culture. Steve centres a good portion of the story on the lives of a close-knit Native American family. The Winnemucca’s are evidently proud of their culture and ancestry. Through the patriarch's stories to his daughter, Quanah, I learned about Native American traditions, their love for mustangs, and heroes such as Sacagawea, Sarah Winnemucca, and a host of others.
The book’s shortfalls are its slow pace and overt attention to details. While attention to detail can evoke vivid images in a reader's mind, I don't consider knowing the exact size of a character's beard appealing.
Besides the quibbles mentioned above, I caught just one error throughout my reading, so I have no doubt that the book was meticulously edited. For its spectacular character development, vivid scenery, culture and family themes, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It will appeal to readers with a taste for Native American culture, mustangs and unconventional romance.
Quanah: Last of the Paiute Warriors
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