Annapolis resident Lucia St. Clair Robson has lived near the ocean much of her life. She grew up along the Atlantic Ocean in West Palm Beach, Florida, and since graduating from the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1964, her life has been filled with vistas of sunrises and sunsets around the world. Robson’s adventures took her to Venezuela as a Peace Corps volunteer, to Brooklyn as a schoolteacher, and later, as an army wife to Japan, South Carolina and Arizona. In 1982, Robson published her first book, Ride the Wind, on the kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker, mother of Quanah Parker. The book earned a Spur Award and a spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Eight novels and a second Spur Award for Last Train from Cuernavaca later, TOR/Forge is re-releasing her historical novel of the Apache Southwest, Ghost Warrior, in mass-market paperback in April 2016. And, as a former professional librarian, Robson recommends these five authors and their classics to fill your reading time while you wait for her next original novel:
1. Mystic Warriors of the Plains (written and illustrated by Thomas Mails, Doubleday and Co.): If I could keep only one book about Indians, it would be this profusely illustrated folio-sized book. Rather than detailing a single Indian Nation, Mails writes in great detail about the arts, crafts, weaponry, customs, and religious beliefs that Plains cultures shared.
2. Wisdom’s Daughters: Conversations with Women Elders of Native America (Steve Wall, Harper Collins): This is a compilation of the first-person accounts of women from ten different tribes. Transcribed as the women spoke them, their voices give a rare, personal, and enlightening glimpse into the lives and opinions of a demographic rarely heard from.
3. Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay (Don Rickey Jr., University of Oklahoma Press): Dr. Rickey has written an impressively detailed picture of the daily lives and hardships of enlisted men fighting in the Indian wars. In spite of the density of information, his writing style is entertaining. He leaves the reader with the feeling of having shared the soldiers’ experiences, great and small.
4. Frederic Remington’s Own West (written and illustrated by Frederic Remington, Dial Press): The sketches and paintings (reproduced in black and white) that grace the pages are enough to earn this book a place on any shelf. Added to them, Remington’s first-person recounting of his own adventures, written in colorful vernacular, make it an engrossing and highly entertaining read.
5. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians, vols. I and II (written and illustrated by George Catlin, Dover Publications, Inc.): Between 1830 and 1838 Catlin visited fifty indigenous tribes as far north as the present North Dakota-Montana border. He wrote extensively, collected numerous artifacts, and produced over 500 paintings. Much of what we know about American Indians of the West before white settlement is thanks to him.