Winter Brothers A Season at the Edge of America PDF

10 thoughts on “Winter Brothers A Season at the Edge of America

  1. Schuyler Wallace Schuyler Wallace says:

    “Winter Brothers” is Ivan Doig’s second published book a work that Doig has trouble classifying He has settled on calling it a journal of a journal It’s a study of the prolific writings of a Pacific Northwest pioneer of the 1850s and of Doig’s present day effort at spending a winter retracing the diarist’s steps while reading through a forty year collection of at least 2500000 handwritten wordsDoig begins by trying to classify James Gilchrist Swan’s life as an oysterman schoolteacher railroad speculator ethnologist lawyer judge homesteader linguist outfitter explorer customs agent author bureaucrat artist and clerk finally calling him a diarist because of the mounds of writings carefully scribed in tiny immaculate handwriting Although Swan struggled at keeping all his roles in order never gaining a sense of security in any of them he always kept immaculate records of his endeavors in the Puget Sound and Pacific Northwest coast regionsSwan originally came to the area in 1848 From 1859 to until 1898 he kept a day to day diary describing his frontier life filling notebooks sketch pads diaries school exercise books and ledgers of all colors and shapes with small compact script of both inked stylus and pencil He meticulously recorded letters written and received books borrowed and lent and the details of his haphazard financial condition He tucked addresses Indian words and their definitions and sketches of animals Indian life and the surrounding grandeur of the northwest into every available space and tucking clippings of all sorts among the bindingsDoig was obsessed with reading every line and spent a winter’s season tracking Swan’s steps as they were recorded He not only writes about passages salient to his shadowing he comments on aspects of Swan’s life related to his periodic illnesses his infatuation at aged fifty six with 16 year old Dolly Roberts his constant need for alcohol his constant finagling and his mostly desperate financial condition It’s an incredible record of the life and times of a brilliant and bewildering frontiersmanIvan Doig is considered a leading writer of western literature although he would prefer that readers think of him as a chronicler of life regardless of the locale He intends that the prose in every book he writes be charged with poetry Most writers aim for that but Doig is one of the few who can pull it off This book is a devotional to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest the integrity and resourcefulness of its natives and to the dedication of Swan and Doig two talented writers of different centuries

  2. Alan Alan says:

    James Gilchrist Swan left four decades of diaries totalling 2500000 words about his life What interested Doig was Swan's time at the Westernmost tip of the lower 48 states the Olympic Peninsula around the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet to Puget Sound Swan lived with the Makah Indians near Neah Bay and in Port Townsend from the 1860's to 1900 He was a Boston emigrant who spent his life at the Western edge of America and this book narrates his life as Doig is reading it from his diaries It offers uniue insight into the times and peoples of the area Very interesting non fiction

  3. Edward A Blanford Edward A Blanford says:

    It was a hard start for me but once several chapters in I was hooked It is a great read about the Puget Sound area that our great grandparents would have experienced although not always in the same locations or exact times It is steeped in the lore traditions and art of the Native Americans of the Northern Olympic Peninsula and the Western side of Vancouver Island to a lesser extent In short cultures and places you will be very or somewhat familiar with which adds to its valueIt is a Biography of James G Swan a Northwest pioneer from the Boston area of the mid to late 1800’s with the majority focus on the Pacific side and North side of the Olympic Peninsula It is based on Doig’s research of Swan’s nearly daily and uite detailed diaries over a period of some 40 years The first unconventional piece is the it is organized by the days of Doig’s researchwritings over one winter Chapters start with “Day One” and progress in that manner often encompassing multiple daysThe second is that it is Autobiographical in places as well and parallels are often drawn between Swan’s actionsfeelingsphilosophy expressed in his writings and those of Doig in his life to date he turns 40 over the winter it is written separated by some 120 years in timeI offer a uote from the book which I feel is significant in many ways “Some men and women are never a part of the time they were born into and walk the streets or highways of their generation as strangers” In the book Doig applies this to Swan and then admits that in reality it is a uote from a New York Times Book review of his previous book “This House of Sky” and was written of him while he was writing this bookI now have that book inline to read In the scheme of Doig’s writing career these two books and 3 previous are non fiction After these he went on to write numerous fiction novels the last of which “Last Bus to Wisdom” got us started down this winding dusty road

  4. Diane Diane says:

    Winter BrothersThis book was wonderful at many levels I was introduced to the story of James Swan a significant figure in Washington State especially on the Olympic Peninsula He seems to be one of very few European who liked learning the Indian perspective learned the Makah language and liked and studied Indian art He kept diaries – something like 60 books with very detailed notes about his lifeI loved the way Doig wrote about Swan and have never seen a biography or study done in this way Doig was fascinated by the diaries but did not know where to begin so he took three months to simply read and reflect on Swan’s diaries often visiting places that Swan had lived and writing about the experience in a diary manner Sometimes Doig is writing about Swan but then mid sentence he uotes Swan sometimes at length or sometimes just a sentence Swan’s words are in italics but are not indented or otherwise set apart I loved this approach and had the sense that Doig and Swan were in sync with each other even though 100 years apartI also loved the way I was forced to read Doig I had to give up my normal way of reading and just let the book carry me Reading this way is something like meditation something I am normally not good at doing The only other time I have ever had to do this was when reading Mink River I found myself living in the 19th century or walking with Doig to find the swan that Swan had carved in the cave on the peninsula An amazing feeling

  5. Michael Phillips Michael Phillips says:

    I look forward to reviewing this book when I am done because so many of the other reviews are filled with inaccuracies Update 2020 couldn't finish it I respected this book than I enjoyed reading it Important historical figure acclaimed writer but just couldn't get into it

  6. Josh Carter Josh Carter says:

    The good James Swan is an interesting historical figure being a white man who genuinely seems to prefer the company of Native Americans to other white people yet still pervy enough to crush on a 16 year old when he's in his 50's Doig's consolidation of his many journal entries paints a picture of a flawed man who suffered from bouts of depression and alcoholism and was terrible at handling money who nonetheless contributed to anthropological scholarship in the Pacific Northwest and would by today's standards be considered less racist than your average MAGA hat which is pretty startling given that he lived through the Civil War The bad Doig's prose is purpler than grape juice It comes off as pretentious and maybe his descriptions of the Olympic Peninsula were appropriate in the late 70s and early 80s before the PNW became The Place To Be in the Western US but today it sounds overwrought The interposition of Doig's own autobiographical flourishes also seem out of place They're sparse enough that it doesn't make reading about Swan too much of a slog but the sparseness also prevents me from caring I don't care about your hike in the Hoh rainforest Doig Read it for the interesting distillation of Swan's millions of words of journals not for Doig's vanity autobiographical comparison between himself and a real pioneer

  7. Wendy Feltham Wendy Feltham says:

    This journal about a journal is kind of slow going yet filled with interesting stories and observations from the late 1800's here in the Pacific Northwest where I live Ivan Doig has written a personal reflection while analyzing the journals of James G Swan a Bostonian who settles in Port Townsend and Neah Bay Swan worked a variety of jobs from teaching school to the Makah children to purchasing Native Tribes' art for the Smithsonian and recorded daily temperatures meals and social interactions Mostly I was fascinated by what everyone ate unusual stews using every part of the fish berries dried salmon and seaweed and some even ate our enormous banana slugs I often wished the book contained photos so I could picture the Haida carvings or the scenes of Victorian era Port Townsend

  8. Don Friedman Don Friedman says:

    In short order I read two memoirs not a common genre for me Patti Smith and this one I love everything by Ivan Doig Kind of a brilliant conception here Doig is exploring the Pacific Northwest particularly around Seattle Olympic Mountains Vancouver area His vehicle for exploring is the meticulous journals maintained for over 50 years any James Swan a fascinating kind of Renaissance man of the northwest interested in every aspect of life in this area where white residents are still pioneers in the late 1800s His particular interest is in the Native Americans who he lives travels and works with even learns some of their language and studies their art meticulously Doig writes the book going back forth between his own experiences with excerpts from Swan's journal tracking Swan's life 100 years later

  9. Dianna Wills Dianna Wills says:

    This was a different and personal book for Doig I have read most of his later works and am continually stopped in my tracks compelled to reread his metaphors and insights His language did mature in later books but his honest and thoughtful ruminations while narrating an intellectual pioneer's life and works through the man's James Swan's voluminous diaries kept me reading We have Swan to thank for many artifacts sent to the Smithsonian and knowledge of life for northwestern Native Americans I want to go there even though the land cannot have the same wild and rugged vibe And my outlook on life as always when I read Doig's perceptive melodic and stunning language was enriched

  10. Jill Jill says:

    A challenging read but ultimately rewarding Ivan Doig takes you back in time to relive Swan's journeys and experiences with the Native Americans and many early settlers in Washington TerritoryState from the 1850's until his death in 1900 My visits years ago to the Makah Museum Cape Flattery and Port Townsend have much significance after reading this book Doig visited the Ozette Indian Village Archaeological site while he was writing this book during the excavation the artifacts are now on display in the Museum I also enjoyed the descriptions of Swam's canoe trip and exploration of the ueen Charlotte Islands off the Coast of British Columbia

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Winter Brothers A Season at the Edge of America ❮Read❯ ➸ Winter Brothers A Season at the Edge of America ➻ Author Ivan Doig – The author of This House of Sky provides a magnificent evocation of the Pacific Northwest through the diaries of James Gilchrist Swan a settler of the region Doig fuses parts of the Swan diaries with The A Season at the PDF or author of A Season eBook ✓ This House of Sky provides a magnificent evocation of the Pacific Northwest through the diaries of James Gilchrist Swan a settler of the region Doig fuses parts of the Swan diaries with his own journal.