Jess Wells

Author of Modern and Historical Fiction, Instructor in the Craft

Jess's books

War and Peace

5 of 5 stars

So glad I finally was able to read/​hear this book, all 43 discs unabridged, while commuting to work. He has a wonderful sense of irony, of humor, a jaded eye to the aristocracy. Marvelous ability to describe emotions in a single line. Lo...

Dear Life: Stories

5 of 5 stars

Tremendous work, though the prose is a little sparse for my taste. Nice to see a combination of both open-ended and concluded short stories. And I'm still thrilled that a short story writer has won the Nobel Prize.

The Luminaries

5 of 5 stars

Engaging, great use of language, and a fast-paced whodunit that I couldn't put down.


Remove Native American Racist Statues, Too

January 15, 2018

Tags: Modern Life

Justification to remove statues of Civil War generals is straightforward – there are no statues of Hitler in Germany so there should be no statues built to American proponents of slavery. (I was shocked to hear that 35 Confederate statues have been erected in North Carolina since 2000!) And we should take note that the Germans have taken a very thorough approach to removing visual reminders of World War II, as described here.

But I would also join the chorus of voices calling for the removal of statues that celebrate the racial oppression of Native Americans, perhaps starting with “End of the Trail,” a heartbreaking reminder of brutality and a visual that reinforces the idea that Native Americans have been (and so always will be) vanquished. Not a sight that engenders pride and courage.

Wikipedia says: “The statue was sculpted by James Earle Fraser after it was commissioned by Clarence Shaler in 1929[2], as a tribute (sic) to the Native Americans.[3] It is a copy cast in bronze of a plaster statue by Fraser that gained notoriety at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The original was moved from Visalia, California to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1968, where it was restored and is now on display at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The City of Visalia received a bronze replica as a replacement. A smaller bronze copy of the statue is on the campus of Winona State University in Fraser's home town, Winona, Minnesota.”

The Winona State University copy sits amid a mural painted as part of the WPA and is also criticized for its racism. (And I would like to know why Wikipedia can say that it was commissioned “as a tribute.” There’s no attribution for that.)

And then there are statues of Custer, Junipero Serra, and Andrew Jackson, as well as thematic statues including ones here in the San Francisco Bay Area:

· A monument to Saint Junipero Serra stands above Interstate 280 between San Francisco and San Jose

· Pioneer Monument in San Francisco, California, dedicated in 1894

· The Bear Hunt Statue, erected at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, was sculpted in 1892 by Douglas Tilden.

· And others, including the fight to rename the Washington DC football team. “The documentary More Than a Word by first-time filmmakers and brothers, John and Kenn Little, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, slices through the cacophonic chatter surrounding the team name” of the Washington R******s (their spelling), according to Voice of America.

Visuals count. Let’s keep going…into the theater, the football field, the public square.

#JessWells, #MoreThanAWord, #NativeAmericanRights

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"What really ties the stories together is Wells' wry sensibilities and lyrical prose. She mixes tragedy and comedy to great effect; producing stories that feel true as if it were gossip heard first hand." - Review
Historical Fiction
The early adulthood of Christine de Pizan, called "artfully captured with economy and delicacy [that] comes across beautifully in this well-written and researched work." - The Historical Novels Review
"Historical events…are elegantly woven into the plot. The well-rounded characters, constant action, and captivating subject matter unite (in The Mandrake Broom) to enlighten as well as infuriate as the atrocities of the time period become real through Wells’ vivid writing…. Reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon series, Jess Wells’ third novel belongs on everyone’s reading list”– The Historical Novels Review