Order from McFarland — Amazon is cancelling all preorders

For some strange reason Amazon is cancelling the pre-orders for The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart.  But there’s no need to order from  Amazon:  Since the price is the same when you buy from the publisher, and service is very fast, please order directly from McFarland.  Those who’ve already ordered from McFarland have their copies (including folks in England).  Best of all, you can call McFarland and talk with a real human being at the ordering desk.

Here’s the web address for the book:  http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-6799-0



The GRS biography has arrived

The happy writer

After 8 years, 8 months, and 24 days of work, the book has arrived. It is the highest mountain I’ve ever climbed (or we’ve ever climbed, since so many folks have helped along the way). Here’s the photo, taken by our UPS delivery guy at the historic Walking Box Ranch.  Thanks to McFarland for doing such a fine job on the book.

It is being simultaneously published as an eBook by various e-publishers.  It will take up to 8 weeks to get that version into the various e-catalogs.

This is an expensive book, so I’d recommend that if you’re interested in reading it you suggest that your local library buy a copy.

Thanks again to everyone — and to George R. Stewart.


A New Title for the George R. Stewart web log

In honor of the publication of The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart:  A Literary Biography of the Author of Earth Abides, this web log has been re-named.  It is now The EARTH ABIDES Project.  The novel, Earth Abides, has had a profound and lasting effect on human culture, so it deserves this honor.  Hopefully, those who read Stewart’s great novel will find themselves on life-long saunters through new worlds of reading and thinking.

The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart is published

According to McFarland (I spoke with their marketing person today)
The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart: A Literary Biography of the Author of Earth Abides   is now shipping.

If you’ve ordered one, it should be on its way to you.


It’s been quite a ride.    Now to see if the book sells.

George R. Stewart’s works: The early books

Although it took years for George R. Stewart to write a best-seller, his early works are still used by scholars of literature, history, ecological thought, and so on. Since I’ll be doing brief reviews of his books over the next few weeks or months, it seems best to begin with work most people — even the most passionate Stewart fans — know little about.

His first work, [Robert Louis] Stevenson in California: A Critical Study, was Stewart’s thesis for his Berkeley Master’s in English. Stewart was as interested in California and western history as he was in English, especially after taking the excellent class offered by Herbert Bolton. But in those days, it was expected that an English MA would be about the work of a distinguished European author.  As a boy, Stewart had been greatly influenced by Treasure Island. He knew, from his informal study of the book that the Island was actually based on California scenery. So Stewart set out, into the field with the book in hand, and into the manuscripts of Stevenson’s work, to find out exactly what of California is in  Treasure Island. He found what he was looking for and wrote it up; then saw his thesis become a standard reference work for Stevenson scholars.

So where is Treasure Island? If you read Jim Hawkin’s descriptions of the place, you’ll be reading about Monterey Bay and shoreline, Mt. St. Helena near Napa, and an abandoned mine on the mountain that was called “The Old Juan Silverado Mine.” Since it’s now a California state park, you can hike to the location of the mine buildings, where Stevenson and his bride Fanny spent their honeymoon; and, like them, you can look down from the place that would be immortalized as “Long John Silver,” over the broad Napa valley.

Working on the thesis, Stewart also found a newspaper story which he was able to ascribe to Stevenson. His article about the story gave him his first national publication, in Scribner’s Magazine. It was a good preparation for his next work, his PhD. dissertation, which would be an exhaustive study of meter in ballads. More about that in the next entry.

By the way, the GRS bio is now at the printer’s, and should be out soon.