Go West, Young Man
by Daphne Guinness
Mode Magazine Book Rap, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, March 1990
It’s not Cowboys, it’s not Calamity Jane, it’s not Jesse James. “The Great Plains Revisited is the American Indian conflict with the United States Army, which may not sound too whoops, but author Andrew Hogarth says it is just amazing who is turned on by Red Injuns.
Marlon Brando, of course, Elton John’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin, and Kevin Costner the movie star are three off the top of his head. “A gentleman in the Blue Mountains has just built a tepee – he’s a painter and draws American Indians, and a lawyer in the city… he just bought my book, too.”
Bookrap bumped into Hogarth flogging “Plains” in a Paddington (Sydney) cakeshop. The assistants simply laughed at his would-they-be-interested-in-a-book-about-Indians pitch and continued icing television gateaux, but being a Scot, he wished them a Happy New Year and went on to sell six copies of his $25 350 limited-edition volume before the day was out. Most went to bookshops for hard cash, which is unusual; books are usually sold on a sale-or-return basis.
But Hogarth is that trendy phenomenon: the package publisher who writes, takes pictures, lays out and produces the entire book 9his pal Charles Renwick did the line drawings). The point of “Plains” is that it isn’t just a series of dramatic black-and-white pictures of famous faces such as Frank Fools Crow, the 99-year-old Ceremonial Chief and Medicine Man of the Lakota-Sioux Nation who died last year. “When I shook his hand, I felt inspired – it was like touching history.”
“Plains also includes a 17-page directory of battlefields, monuments and markers, which tells how to get there and what further books to read. Hogarth thinks his timing is just right. He was watching the “Today Show” on television and the subject under discussion was book trends for the coming decade when someone said that “the days of books on ball games and space are over. What people want now is history.”