Cover image for Mean spirit : a novel
Mean spirit : a novel
Hogan, Linda.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum ; Toronto : Collier Macmillan Canada, 1990.
Physical Description:
374 pages ; 25 cm
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Native Americans made rich by the Oklahoma oil boom of the 1920s fall victim to a campaign of fraud and intimidation on the part of white businessmen eager to rob them of their new-found wealth.

Author Notes

Linda Hogan--a Chickasaw writer whose work draws heavily on Native American culture--was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1947. A poet, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, Hogan writes about topics related to the experiences of Native Americans as well as the relationship between humans and the environment.

Her acclaimed first novel, Mean Spirit, focused on violence in the Osage Indian community during the Oklahoma oil boom of the 1920s. She has also published volumes of poetry and essays. Hogan has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation and has taught at University of Colorado, University of Denver, and the University of Minnesota.

(Bowker Author Biography) Linda Hogan has published several books of poetry, essays, and fiction. She lives in Colorado.

(Bowker Author Biography) Linda Hogan is the recipient of an American Book Award. Her novel, "Mean Spirit," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Idledale, Colorado.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Michael Morse, Grace and Nola Blanket, Belle Graycloud, John Stink, and Stace Red Hawk are caught in the terrifying triangle of Indians, oil, and white men. Enormous wealth and Euro-pean values have wreaked havoc on the Osage traditional landbase and spiritual way of life in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma in the early twentieth century. Only signs, portents, and feelings guide them through this time of sorrow, and dogged by murder, arson, and fraud, they are forced to retreat to their hill-country camps. All that remains for them is the hope that comes with survival. A slow-moving but intense story that makes a lasting impression. ~--Cynthia Ogorek

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in Oklahoma during the oil boom of the early 1920s, this brooding and profoundly moving first novel focuses on two doomed Osage Indian families, the Blankets and the Grayclouds. The brutal murder of Grace Blanket, owner of oil-rich land, witnessed in horror by her young daughter Nola and Nola's friend Rena Graycloud, is only the first of a series of violent events designed to coerce the tribes and put their lands into the hands of the oil barons. Justice is slow and ambiguous. When Stace Red Hawk, a policeman with the U.S. Bureau of Investigation, finds his inquiries blocked and his efforts frustrated by evasive and corrupt federal officials, he travels from Washington, D.C., to Oklahoma to investigate firsthand. Soon, like many of the Indian families depicted here, Stace is torn between the glitter of 20th-century life and the pull of sacred traditions. Hogan, a poet, professor and member of the Chickasaw tribe, mines a rich vein of Indian customs and rituals, and approaches her characters with reverence, bringing them to life with quick, spare phrases. Her absorbing novel pays elegiac tribute to the slow and irrevocable breakup of centuries of culture. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her debut as a novelist, poet and essayist Hogan chronicles the effects of the 1920s Oklahoma oil boom on two Native American families, people entirely unprepared for the consequences of a sudden and unprecedented influx of wealth. Herself a member of the Oklahoma Chickasaw tribe, Hogan tells the story of heretofore worthless land allotted to Indians in the early years of the 20th century. Wells originally drilled for water bring forth only ``the thick black fluid that had no use at all for growing corn or tomatoes,'' and ``the Barren Land'' is transformed virtually overnight into ``the Baron Land.'' Writing in a spare, compact style, Hogan sketches the bewilderment, hope, greed, and ultimate tragedy brought on by sudden (mis)fortune in this fine, sad first novel. Recommended.-- Richard Churchill, Univ. of Baltimore (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-- An intense, haunting tale of the Osage Indians in the 1920s. The mystery begins when Nora Blanket, a Native American, witnesses her mother's murder. This killing is only the first of many as white men try to steal the Indians' oil-rich land and personal fortunes. The Osage try to protect themselves and their way of life, but the situation becomes hopeless, especially when the sheriff and government investigators are suspected of participating in the murders. YAs will enjoy the suspense and unexpected twists of the story line, but they will also find it thought-provoking and unsettling. Through this tribe, readers experience the injustice inherent in cultural prejudice as they did in Griffin's Black Like Me (NAL, 1961), and they confront government corruption firsthand. The moving descriptions of Indian values highlight current environmental concerns. A valuable supplement to social-studies classes.-- Lynda Voyles, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.