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Bernard DeVoto was a wild intellectual from the Rocky Mountains, a rebel, iconoclast, and idealist who fled his stifling small town for the intellectual freedom and community of Harvard. While he settled eastward in his career as a novelist, professor, editor, historian, and critic, he continued to love, to a point of passion, western openness, freedom, and society.
National Book Award– and Pulitzer Prize–winning author and fellow westerner Wallace Stegner's life intersected with Devoto's many times, first by accident and later by friendship and example. They were kindred spirits, both westerners by birth, upbringing, and demeanor, novelists by vocation, teachers by necessity, and historians and conservationists by a sheer compulsion inspired by the region that shaped them.