Winner of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association Gold Medal
“Gary Penley’s story of how his grandfather took hold of his boyhood is a welcome visit to that most mapless territory, the growing up years. His memories of ranch life on the plains of Colorado chime with any of us who were baptized in the west’s rivers of wind.”
—Ivan Doig, author of This House of Sky
“Rivers of Wind is a fine book in many respects. For one, it’s a well-written, true chronicle of everyday life in rural southeastern Colorado earlier this century. The book is also a top-notch character study of ‘Dad,’ Penley’s grandfather who raised him, and gives a real feel for those who straddled time from the horse-and-buggy era to the age of airplanes. It’s a good read.”
“It has hard times, good times, moments of absolute hilarity, rattlesnakes, bobcats and a crusty grandfather.”
—Publishers Weekly, quoting Gayle Ray of Tattered Cover Bookstore
This tender and affecting memoir of the author’s youth on his grandfather’s ranch on the Colorado plains in the 1940s and 1950s is a significant social document of an American way of life now almost vanished.
When Gary Penley was four, he, his brother, and his mother went to live with her father, who would soon become known to young Penley as ‘Dad.’ This memoir of growing up with a man who stood with the intensity of a coiled spring—a compact bundle of energy and fierce determination, whose piercing eyes challenged the world and whose stubborn jaw defied it—is also a tender elegy to the last era of the American frontier.
About the Author
Gary Penley is the author of two other books, including the highly praised biography Della Raye: A Girl Who Grew Up in Hell and Emerged Whole,
about his friend Donnie Hughes’ mother, who was wrongly confined to a mental institution for twenty years. His first novel, Jubal,
holds echoes of classic works of Southern fiction, such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.