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Go west young lady Edward S Curtis Coming to Light Anne Makepeace 216pp National Geographic Sacagaweas Nickname Larry McMurtry 178pp NYRB I Dwell in Possibility Donna M Lucey 256pp National Geographic Phoebe Ann Mosey doesnt figure in I Dwell in Possibility a history of women who built the United States no mugshot no mention not even under her arena name of Annie Oakley Likewise left out is Sacagawea or however you spelled her Shoshone name she bore a son and carried him on her back all the way with the Lewis and Clarke expedition that crosed the continent in 1802-06 However the more famous Pocahontas figures big - probably because the picture editor needed a native American early She comes half-naked in woodcut draping her arm over John Smith to ward off war-clubs about to dash out his brains and then behatted after she had metamorphosed into Rebecka the beautiful savage who died on a PR tour to England to revive interest in Virginian plantations The absence of Annie and Janey as Sacagawea may have been nicknamed is odd given that Luceys book admits all-comers Cockacoeske a 17th-century chief of the Pamunkey commands equal wordage to Martha Washington who knits stockings for George to show patriotic frugality The pictures are even-handed too There is an oil painting of plantation belle Adelicia Franklin Acklen three times a widow she conned North and South armies into letting her export her cotton crop to Lancashire where she sold it for 1m in gold And there is an engraving of Phillis Wheatley black slave poet of the 1770s freed she married badly died young and was buried in an unmarked grave Even unreasonable riches are no bar to admission with Mrs Stuyvesant Fishthe New York zillionairess who gave a dinner for diamond-collared dogs revealed as pouchy and grouchy The real stories are less in the determinedly upbeat text and more within the frames especially the
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