'Brannick' Is Harold Ross's First Novel
JAMES MICHAEL BRANNICK, like most of the pioneers who had come West,
had no notoriety, nor did he want any. He did his job, and
was good at it. As have all the men and women of his time, he died, and in the years that have passed, he has faded into history, unknown
Author Harold Rossís engaging novel, about his grandfather, Jim Brannick,
is set in the beautiful Blue River valley of the rolling Flint Hills of
Kansas, in the late 1800s. It is a tale of the still "untamed" West, in the uncomplicated, picturesque style of the Western genre. The images of
the untouched, unspoiled land, and the colorful personalities who were some of the first to experience it, are genuine.
Jim Brannick was born on McDowell Creek in Kansas, of Irish immigrants,
homesteaders in the 1850s. Brannick was a big man, over six-foot
tall, full of confidence and yet humility, a sensitive man tuned into Nature and the simple beauty around him.
Harold Ross conveys that simple beauty of the prairie and hills in an easy-paced story of the West.
At the place where spring water ran down from the hills and ledge rock,
there lay before me a large pool of sky blue water. I sat upstream and
across the creek, my feet edge up close to the drumming of a rushing riffle, on a flat rock that had managed by some prehistoric force of
nature to be located there.
I listened to the music of the riffleís beat and peered at the gossamer green woods.
The season had painted a green mist in the trees with a budding of new
leaves. Down the creek, among shady slopes of chartreuse misting,
grew patches of redbud and wild plum, their branches covered with racemes of magenta and white blossoms.
. . . Nothing in life had prepared me for what was now taking place. It was 1882. My father was dying.
Harold G. Ross spent his early years on farms in east-central Kansas.
He attended Manhattan High School and Kansas State University, then
worked in the construction field and subsequently formed business enterprises and a development company. Ross is the author of four
collections of poetry. Brannick is Rossís first novel published by Sunflower University Press.
Sunflower University Press is a subsidiary of Journal of the West, Inc.,
publisher of the internationally recognized quarterly JOURNAL of the
WEST, a journal of Western American history and culture. 192 pp., ISBN 0-89745-242-9, $13.95 softcover