Distinguished Geographer Dr. Paul F. Starrs Reviews the GRS Biography

Dr. Paul F. Starrs is a distinguished professor of geography at the University of Nevada, Reno.  He’s received many accolades for his teaching and research, including four awards for excellence in teaching and a Fulbright Scholarship.  He has also written or co-written several books – most recently, the wonderful UC Field Guide to California Agriculture. (Every road traveler to this agricultural state should carry a copy of that book.)   He and his colleague Peter Goin also did a fine little book about a Nevada place, Black Rock,  immortalized by George R. Stewart in one of his ecological novels.

Dr. Starrs’ review of The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart has now been published in the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Review of Books.  More an essay than a simple review, his work discusses the life, ideas, and books of George R. Stewart in the context of the biography.  You need to be registered to read the full article – an expensive registry, I’m sure – but you can see the preview here:  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2325548X.2015.985537#abstract. 

It’s an honor to have the George R. Stewart biography, The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart, reviewed by Dr. Starrs.


Jack Stewart’s Obituary in the San Jose Mercury-News

The  obituary gives a fine overview of Jack’s remarkable career.  He was the pre-eminent geologist for much of the land that John Wesley Powell first surveyed in the nineteenth century.  Powell later established the United States Geological Survey, where Jack worked for his entire professional career.  Sadly, the obit does not mention the work he did on his father’s books — designing a faux national forest for Fire, then mapping it; doing photography for US 40; and helping with field research at “Sheep Rock.”  A modest man, Jack did not publicize these contributions to literature.  But it is important  to share this part of his distinguished legacy.    It is also important to note that, like his father and mother, Jack chose public service over a potentially lucrative private career.   In doing so, Jack, like many of his and my generation, modeled an excellent example of working virtuously for the public good.

At the moving conclusion of Earth Abides, Ish hands his Hammer to Jack.  In the same way, when George R. Stewart died, he left the Hammer of Ish to his son, Jack.  That symbolic act shows the importance of our friend and colleague, Jack Stewart.The Hammer of Ish2 copy

E. McKnight Kauffer, SHEEP ROCK cover designer

One of the joys of researching a book like the George R. Stewart biography is finding unexpected roads to explore, and great discoveries along those roads.

Searching Google to buy a copy of Sheep Rock last night, I found one of those paths:  a link to a page about the artist who designed the cover.  E. McKnight Kauffer was a native Montanan who eventually moved to England, where he designed a large number of posters for the Tube, the Railroads, Shell Oil, museums, and so on.  The posters are designed for quick impact, but are also beautiful.

Here’s a Google page with many of Kauffer’s designs — Sheep Rock is a few rows down, on the left:   https://www.google.com/search?q=E.+McKnight+Kauffer&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=KRzWT9T6L4iA2wW9y92yDw&ved=0CHkQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=672

Kauffer did a number of book cover designs.   Looking over his designs, I find myself wondering if he did any of the other original Stewart covers – like Names On The Land, Earth Abides, or Storm.  If not, I’m wondering who may have designed the other Stewart covers.

Osborne did the cover for Not So Rich As You Think — he was well-known for his style and so his name was showcased in the book.

But what about the others?  Anyone have any ideas?

Reno Libraries to add THE LIFE AND TRUTH OF GEORGE R. STEWART to their collections

Word has come — informally, but from a very reliable source — that libraries in Reno, Nevada, will be adding the George R. Stewart biography to their collections.

Stewart wrote extensively about northern Nevada, and worked closely with Librarian Ken Carpenter at the University of Nevada, Reno, in his research and writing.  The second largest collection of George R. Stewart materials is in the UNR Special Collections (follow link in the menu at the top of the page to get an idea of the scope of that excellent collection).  And Tim Gorelangton, now a Librarian in Reno, was responsible for the editing and printing, on the historic Columbian Press at UNR,  of a limited edition of Stewart’s poem from Sheep Rock.  So the Reno libraries will be a good home for the Stewart biography.