RESCHEDULED to 3/6/2013!
*Starred Review* Don’t let the subtitle scare you off from this engrossing, eminently readable study of one of the most intriguing figures in the history of the Old West. Stewart (1795–1871) was a Scottish aristocrat who from 1833 to 1837 went west annually in the company of fur-trading company suppliers en route to the annual rendezvous of the mountain men. Thanks to his military service, he was a crack shot, hard rider, and skilled commander—attainments that, along with his habit of packing plenty of good wines, spirits, and fancy duds for the voyage, made traders and trappers alike accept him. He always had in tow some young men, late teens to early twenties, looking for adventure and perhaps more. A historian of sexuality whose scholarly bailiwick is the early American republic, Benemann makes his case by means of documentary evidence that implies and indicates far more than it states. His interpretation is entirely plausible, and meanwhile he tells in satisfying detail the stories of Stewart’s wanderings, capped by his 1843 last-hurrah expedition with a hefty contingent of his preferred young companions, whose adventures, climaxing in a month-long Renaissance fair in the wilderness, are numerous and exciting enough to pack a western movie with action. An altogether exceptional book. - From Booklist