Big Rock Candy Desert
In taking the assignment, Stegner was clear about establishing his journalistic boundaries: "I have no liking either for muckraking or for whitewashing jobs; I should very much like to make this book straightforward and honest history... . To do that properly I shall need my elbows free," he wrote. But this piece in Stanford magazine, (Stegner founded the school's esteemed creative writing program), takes a rather harsh view of the end product, finding it romanticized and boosterish.
No doubt, the mere revelation of Stegner's oil book will disillusion some of the author's fans (of which I am one), but I would argue that that's not such a bad thing. After all, who needs illusions?