Shoshone Mike

1989 Penguin Books

1995 University of Nevada Press

Critics’ Remarks

“A wonderfully written novel of great historical significance. Frank Bergon has captured a tragic moment in this nation’s past with intelligence and power. Shoshone Mike will move you.”

—James Welch, author of Winter in the Blood

 “Shoshone Mike is a terribly sad story, and a terribly true one, told with an inspired simplicity.”

—Madison Smartt Bell, author of Straight Cut

“A quietly astonishing novel. Frank Bergon’s calm, clear prose is the strong axis around which past and present give each other furious and lethal chase.”

—Thomas Mallon, author of A Book of One’s Own

“To a distinguished list of classic Western novels—Laughing Boy, Rabbit Boss, Willie Boy, Fig Tree John—another title is now added:Shoshone Mike. In every way, this new work is comparable.”

—Kevin Starr, author of Americans and the California Dream

“Frank Bergon’s remarkable novel is more than a well-documented reconstruction of one tragic incident in the history of the American West. In the harsh convergence of all of its disparate actors, in the even-handed understanding given each purblind participant, Shoshone Mike compresses into a single story a vast genocidal tragedy, the destruction of North American Indian life by the remorseless advance of an uncomprehending ‘civilization.’”

—Warner Berthoff, Harvard University, author of Literature and the Continuances of Virtue

“The best Western since The Ox-Bow Incident to explore the darker side of Nevada justice, to universally indict the frailities of man. Shoshone Mike may well become a classic, too.”—Ann Ronald, Western American Literature

“In Shoshone Mike, Bergon tells the sad tale that lies just beneath our cherished dime-novel, Hollywood-polished American West. . . . Shoshone Mike eloquently excavates dark truths about America’s past, truths even darker now because they are still with us.”—Albert Mobilio, Village Voice Literary Supplement

“With a prose style as unembellished as the landscape he describes, Bergon has created a powerful novel . . . about America, about the way we imagine who and where we are.”               —Louis Owens, Los Angeles Times

“The most memorable Western in recent times since Son of the Morning Star.”                            — Michael Berryhill, The Houston Post

“The point of this novel is the detailing and dignifying of so-called minor lives and heroism as they are spun around an event which is in so many ways emblematic of our public troubles with the disenfranchised today.”

The New York Times Book Review

“A terrific novel. . . . The story is based on actual events, but its historical accuracy is less important than the fact that it feels true; no cardboard cut-out heroes and villains here.”

The Seattle Times

“Here is a rarity: a western novel that is actually about the West. Bergon has cut through the clichés . . . to write a novel that knows the West, respects history, and has the craft to tell the truth.”

—William Heath, The Texas Quarterly

buy it