Thursday, June 4, 2015

Give Your Heart to the Hawks by Winfred Blevins

I started reading this book, Give Your Heart to the Hawks, and right away I knew that it was one of the best books I've read on the fur trade in the Rocky Mountains. Mister Blevins covers all the main characters involved, Jedediah Smith, General Ashley, Tom "Three Fingers" Fitzpatrick, Jim Bridger, John Colter, Hugh Glass, Pierre Chouteau, to name a few. He writes from the trapper point of view and makes it  personal by using their language to tell about themselves and the trapping trade, the rendezvous, and the battles with the Indians, mainly the Blackfoot tribe. Some didn't survive the battles or the life on the prairie and in the mountains. Most of the winters were tough and if they didn't have enough to eat, they went hungry. If they lived to age 40 or so, they changed lives and settled down to a more normal life with a squaw or went back to the settlements on the eastern bank of the Missouri. A few lived with the Indians and adopted the Indian ways, one became a tribal chief, Jim Beckwourth, the only black man.

The book also covers the competition between the fur companies, including the British in the Northwest, the grizzly bear attack on Hugh Glass and its aftermath, and the story-telling of the various trappers, the heavy drinking and fights at rendezvous time, other moral and immoral happenings The book includes a Glossary, Chronology of the Fur Trade, Notes, Index, and Bibliography.The edition I read is the First Avon Printing, 1976.

Win Blevins is a Spur Award Winner for his novels, Stone Song and So Wild a Dream.  He is the 2015 Owen Wister Award Winner for Lifetime Contributions to Western Literature. Congratulations are in order!


  1. Cool. Sounds like a great work to be used as a reference for stories too. I'll check it out.

  2. A lifetime achievement award for whatever 'industry' we work in is something to be proud of.

    1. Yes, it is, Patsy, and reflects a lot of hard work.