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Neihardt's novel "Life's Lure," at 100 years old, is read and discussed online

After 100 years since its first publication, "Life's Lure" by John Neihardt (1881-1973) can be read online at Googlebooks and is the subject of a May 29 blog posting by Ron Scheer ( seriously assessing the book. Scheer was "farm-raised in the Platte River valley of central Nebraska" and is the author of "How the West Was Written."

"Life's Lure" was republished by University of Nebraska Press and in 2008 by SUNY Press.

"Life's Lure," set in a mining camp, was Neihardt's second novel and one of the earlier of his many books. Scheer writes that it is about "the dark side" of mining camp life.

Although "Life's Lure" is not mentioned in some short biographies of Neihardt, in 1908 he was already listed by "Who's Who in America" according to the web site of the Neihardt Center, otherwise known as the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site ( in Bancroft, Neb.

Opening in a card game in which the protagonist, Drake, loses, "Life's Lure" proceeds next to the long letter he writes to his wife, Joy, back home before moving on the mining camp. Mining was a booming business in the beginning of the 20th Century; unions had some popularity with miners although not without opposition.

Neihardt, the first poet in the United States to be named a state poet, is the state poet in perpetuity of Nebraska and is best known for his epic poetry and for his book "Black Elk Speaks" recollecting Wounded Knee. He moved to Nebraska with his family as a boy and later to Bancroft, where "Life's Lure" apparently was written.

Neihardt's work is taught in the classroom; see the article "Using Neihardt in Today's Classroom" by Joseph F. Green in volume 15 (2013) of the Neihardt Journal, a publication of the Neihardt Foundation.

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