What he instead provides is the actual stuff of literary grist and not merely for that great pulp mill. For example, when LRH speaks of the slim, forgotten fact, he is actually touching upon a critical element in much of what we regard as the most fascinating of stories, e.g., the slim forgotten history of Alexander Selkirk, inspiration for Daniel Defoes The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Those works discussed here, as following from Rons own examination of the slim and forgotten, are just as engaging.
Buckskin Brigades, hardcover, 1937 (left);
Buckskin Brigades, paperback, 1987 (right).
The first, his decidedly rare and accurate portrayal of the Blackfeet, Buckskin Brigades, has enjoyed a long and respected history of reprint and review. The work has further received much acclaim from the Blackfeet themselves, whom a young Ron had known from the Montana of his youth and his ceremonial induction as a tribal Blood Brother at the age of six. Likewise memorable was his impelling adventure with Admiral Nelson on the Nile, Mr. Tidwell Gunner.
By way of a few ancillary notes: the Norvell Page encountered among the New York City Library stacks, was none other than Norvell The Spider Page, occasionally glimpsed through the Manhattan streets in a black cloak and sloping fedora rather like his menacing hero. Those stories concerning the worlds most dangerous professions were eventually known as the Hell Job series, and appeared in that original and most respected of all pulp periodicals, Argosy. In addition to what Ron relates on the shaping of Test Pilot, he would elsewhere describe scaling rooftops with steeplejacks, plunging into a dark and chilled Puget Sound with navy divers and rolling bone-crushing logs with lumberjacks all in the name of a continuing search for research.
Mr. Hubbard has reversed a time-honored formula and has given a thriller to which, at the end of every chapter or so, another paleface bites the dust . . . an enthusiasm, even a freshness and sparkle, decidedly rare in this type of romance.
New York Times Book Review