I read Tom Knudson's article on Bernard DeVoto with great pleasure (HCN, 8/8/94). Among those who are familiar with his life and writings, DeVoto's acerbic wit, lifetime commitment to the twin arts of writing and history and passionate defense of both individual liberties and the American West are still inspirational. Yet, his own contributions to American writing and the American conservation movement are often overshadowed, perhaps because he defied easy categorization. He also never sat still long enough to let any accolades accumulate.
Perhaps DeVoto's greatest gift lay in his ability to galvanize others. Many writers, including DeVoto's biographer Wallace Stegner, credit DeVoto with prodding them into action on behalf of the Western environment, as well as for support and encouragement during their early years as struggling writers.
Albuquerque, New Mexico