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The Crimson Bookshelf

SALUTE TO YESTERDAY, by Gone Fowler, New York, Random House, 365 pp. Price $2.50.

By J. A. B.

FRESH from his enviable success with his two great biographies "The Great Mouthpiece" and "Timber Line," Gene Fowler turns again to the novel with a brilliant piece of writing in "Salute to Yesterday." The book is the fruit of matured thought over the last six years. Its substance is a delving into the past of the Rocky Mountains and the rugged characters who were bound up in the pioneering days of the west.

The novel does not, however, pretond to be a historical treatise, or even a fictional treatment of the names which have come down in history for their exploits in the far west. It is merely a rather nostalgic yearning for a return of the lost life and people which characterized that period in American History.

Captain James Job Trolley, the central character of "Salute to Yesterday" is a lusty figure of great individuality. His many successful exploits which he carries off with great bravado, and his many unsuccessful ones in which he shows himself great oven in defeat make him a character to be long revered in the minds of his readers who share with him all his hair-raising and many highly entertaining experiences. All Trolley's "companions-in-crime" stand out for the individuality and we laugh with them at their hilarious escapades.

The picture of Denver and the Rocky Mountains which make up the locale of the tale is vividly drawn, if perhaps almost a little too modern for credulity. Possibly this is part of the charm of the book since, although we of today cannot imagine such happenings in a Twentieth Century such happenings in a Twentieth Century world, we nevertheless realize the similarity of character and emotion which has persisted through the rough and oftentimes crude period of our early history. Because these men are not historical characters and therefore were not great and unusual men, we appreciate even more that these were the men who built the west and are responsible for the extent to which civilization has been allowed to travel.

Return of Gene Fowler, who incidentally has been a great power behind many recent motion picture successes, to what many critics call his forte could not have been marked by a more promising vehicle than "Salute to Yesterday." The success of the book because of sheer readability and almost universal appeal should be certain.

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