For The Madera Tribune
Frank Bergon is shown here at a reading of “Jesse’s Ghost” at the Coke Hallowell Center in 2014.
Nationally known author, Frank Bergon, is coming to Madera to share with his hometown his latest book, “Two-Buck Chuck & the Marlboro Man.”
Bergon’s Valley book launch will take place Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. at the Madera County Arts Council and Circle Gallery, 424 N. Gateway Drive, Madera.
Refreshments and book signing will begin at five p.m.
Bergon’s latest is a blockbuster, sprung from the soul of the San Joaquin Valley. He has managed to show how the Old West had met the New West, and he does it by drawing on the lives of people right around Madera as they searched for freedom and found it in the Real West.
Bergon begins with the farmers and ranchers like Fred Franzia and Sal Arriola — the late Mitch Lasgoity and Clay and Dusty Daulton.
Then Bergon turns to ethnicities in the New West — Dr. Albert Wilburn an African-American graduate of Madera High School — Nancy Turner Gray, “a Black ranch girl” — Joe Alvarez, “a Chicano Vet” — Heather, a “new woman warrior” — Louis Owens, “a Native American Okie” — and Irene Waltz, “a Valley Indian searching for her roots.”
Bergon closes his story of the New West by telling his readers the story of the real Marlboro Man, whom Bergon had known since 1962, six years before he became famous.
Bergon is an acclaimed novelist, critic, and essayist whose writings focus mainly on the history and environment of the American West. He is the author of the novels “Jesse’s Ghost,” “Shoshone Mike,” Wild Game,” and “The Temptations of St. Ed & Brother S.” He also is the editor of “The Wilderness Reader” and the Penguin Classic edition of “The Journals of Lewis and Clark.”
He and his wife Holly divide their time between their homes on Martha’s Vineyard and Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Bergon was raised on his parents’ Madera County ranch. His father was Frank Alfred Bergon, after whom the Bergon Senior Citizens Center in Madera is named.
He graduated from St. Joachim School in Madera and attended Bellarmine Preparatory School in San Jose, after which he went to Boston College for his Bachelor’s degree. He then went to Stanford University where he was a Wallace Stagner Fellow. Bergon earned a Ph.D. in English and American Literature at Harvard and taught at Vassar for more than 35 years.