A Strong West Wind: A Memoir (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
43 Reviews
In this exquisitely rendered memoir set on the high plains of Texas, Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell transforms into art what it is like to come of age in a particular time and place. A Strong West Wind begins in the 1950s in the wilds of the Texas Panhandle–a place of both boredom and beauty, its flat horizons broken only by oil derricks, grain elevators, and church steeples. Its story belongs to a girl who grew up surrounded by dust storms and cattle ranches and summer lightning, who took refuge from the vastness of the land and the ever-present wind by retreating into books. What she found there, from renegade women to men who lit out for the territory, turned out to offer a blueprint for her own future. Caldwell would grow up to become a writer, but first she would have to fall in love with a man who was every mother’s nightmare, live through the anguish and fire of the Vietnam years, and defy the father she adored, who had served as a master sergeant in the Second World War.

A Strong West Wind is a memoir of culture and history–of fathers and daughters, of two world wars and the passionate rebellions of the sixties. But it is also about the mythology of place and the evolution of a sensibility: about how literature can shape and even anticipate a life.

Caldwell possesses the extraordinary ability to illuminate the desires, stories, and lives of ordinary people. Written with humanity, urgency, and beautiful restraint, A Strong West Wind is a magical and unforgettable book, destined to become an American classic.


From the Hardcover edition.

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autobiographical. Lovely writing. - Goodreads
Her writing is amazingly beautiful and erudite. - Goodreads
I loved this book because of the the amazing writing. - Goodreads
She IS a writer--this is very well written. - Goodreads
Pulitzer prize winner and a very gifted, poetic writer. - Goodreads
Book Club selection for March. - Goodreads

Review: A Strong West Wind

User Review  - Candace - Goodreads

I wanted to like this book more than I did; her memoir of a friendship with a fellow writer - Let's Take the Long Way Home - was stronger. A worthwhile read nevertheless, especially if you like memoir. Read full review

Review: A Strong West Wind

User Review  - Bill Lively - Goodreads

An interesting memoir giving insight into the world of the young during the 1960's and Vietnam era. Read full review

About the author (2007)

Gail Caldwell is the chief book critic for The Boston Globe, where she has been a staff writer and critic since 1985. In 2001, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. She is also an avid rower. Caldwell lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information