Stan Steiner

Historian, editor, and humorist Stan Steiner spent a lifetime loving and writing about the American Southwest. In his thirty books, he sought not to destroy the many myths surrounding the land and its people, but rather to strip away the facade--the Hollywood and East Coast fantasies--and to reveal the human beings beneath the myths. And human beings, to Steiner, were somehow more real in the American West than anywhere else. The West, he believed, is a place where people are defined by the line at which Frederick Jackson Turners's frontier thesis becomes suddenly personal--a relation among individuals, rather than an abstract theory in a historian's textbook. For Steiner, here was the dwelling place of the American soul in all its fabulous, strife-torn diversity.

Like many of those extolling the West, he was originally from the East. Steiner was born January 1, 1925, in a long-vanished, rural section of Brooklyn, New York--in those years a small farming community. He spent his childhood there and in rural New Jersey before Steiner's parents, Austrian immigrants, moved to Manhattan. The shock of the city soon drove him West, to discover America. Steiner died at the age of 62 in 1987 in Santa Fe, working on a manuscript for his last novel, The Waning of the West.

Click here to hear an excerpt on Stan Steiner from Writing the Southwest.