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Montana and New York.

Sid Gustafson writes literary fiction and poetry. He grew up ranching in Montana, and has managed cattle ranches in Montana and on the Little Missouri River in the Dakota Grasslands. 
In his lyrical novels and poems, Sidney nurtures harmonious relationships between humans and animals. He writes for the New York Times supporting racehorse welfare. His contribution helped result in the elimination of permitted raceday drugs in American horseracing with a subsequent reduction in catastrophic injuries. His current animal activism revolves around abolishing the untoward practice of declawing cats by unethical veterinarians while putting an end to the hot-iron branding of baby calves by abusive cattle ranchers.
The novelist was born in Montana, as were his children and grandchildren. Sid grew up secured by horses, cats, dogs, cattle, and wildlife in the shadow of the Rocky Mountain Front, where his novels take place. These days, his sheepdog Batman is teaching him how to know and herd sheep.
Literary influences include Halldór Laxness, James Willard Schultz, Iris Murdoch, Harper Lee, Malcolm Lowry, Alan Sillitoe, and Ken Kesey, along with the beat writers and Montana novelists.

Momma Jessy, Papa Connor, Sorrin, Aunt Nina, Alex, Grandpa Sid

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Sid Gustafson

Published novels:

PRISONERS OF FLIGHT debut novel, The Permanent Press, Sag Harbor, NY— literary fiction 2003 ISBN 1-57962-088-4

HORSES THEY RODE Second novel, Riverbend Publishing
publication Fall ’06, literary fiction ISBNs 13: 978-1-931832-74-8, ISBN 10: 1-931832-74-9, finalist for HIGH PLAINS BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2007

SWIFT DAM, Third novel, Open Books. March 2016, literary fiction, history fiction, Flood of '64.
ISBN: 978-0-692621-02-8
ISBN: 0-692621-02-4


CANINE FIELD MEDICINE, spring 2016, Wilderness Medical Kits.
FIRST AID FOR THE ACTIVE DOG a guidebook, Alpine Publications, Loveland, CO 2003 ISBN 1-57779-055-3

FICTION ANTHOLOGIES: Letterpress editions



THE SUSPENSE OF LONELINESS, TEARDROPS, short fiction, Letterpress Edition, Birchbrook Press, Delhi, NY


STORIES OF THE FORLORN, Letterpress Edition, Birchbrook Press, Delhi, NY ISBN 0-913559-83-0


TALES FOR THE TRAIL SEQUEL, short fiction, ADVENTURES IN AIR, LAND, AND WATER, Letterpress Edition, , Birchbrook Press, Delhi, NY ISBN 0-913559-85-7


FRESH FICTION FOR FRESH WATER FISHING, short fiction, DOLLY DICK, Letterpress edition, Birchbrook, ISBN 0-913559-84-9

Poetry Anthologies:

ISBN: 0979518504
"The Big Open" (Ingomar Montana)
Many Voices Press

SPRINGSPRUNG, Ariel XVII, Poetry Anthology of Triton College, Chicago, IL National winner, Salute to the Arts Poetry Competition, 1999, "SpringSprung"

Washington State University Pullman, WA
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, ‘79
BS Veterinary Science, cum laude '76

Psi Zeta, Alpha Psi Veterinary Honor Societies

Human/Animal Bond Certified Veterinary Practitioner

PUBLISHED SHORT STORIES AND POETRY in literary and regional magazines, a partial listing:
WHISTLE, Montana Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2015, fiction
LAKE PEOPLE, Montana Quarterly Magazine, The Water Issue, Spring 2014, fiction
HONING IN, Outside Bozeman, Magazine, Fall 2013
Time Leaps, poetry, Outside Bozeman magazine, fall 2010
Searching for Montana Horseracing, Big Sky Journal, SUMMER 2009
THE COLOR OF ELK, Big Sky Journal, Fall 2007
TIME, short fiction, Big Sky Journal, Bozeman, MT Winter 2005
THE BIG DRY, short fiction, Big Sky Journal, Bozeman, MT Winter 2004
1973, short fiction, Thema Magazine, Thema Literary Society, Metarie, LA fall 2003
UNVANQUISHED, short fiction, Thema Magazine, Thema Literary Society, New Orleans, LA summer 2003, ISSN 1041-4851 Nominated for the 2004 Pushcart Prize
PRISONERS OF FLIGHT, short fiction, Thema Magazine, Thema Literary Society, New Orleans, LA, Autumn 1999. Nominated for the 2000 Pushcart Prize.
AGE, fiction, Inkwell Magazine, Manhattenville College, Purchase, NY May 2000
HI-LINE, fiction, spring 2003, Thema Magazine, New Orleans, LA
HONEYMOON, fiction, Zone 3 Literary Magazine, spring 2003
THE COLOR OF ELK, fiction, BIG SKY JOURNAL featured fiction, Autumn 2007, October publication
PLUME, prose poetry, The School of Southern Literature, DeadMule.com
BRAKEMAN, fiction, Montana Crossroads Magazine, Livingston, MT 1997



Horseracing Journalism--New York Times--The Rail

prairie_mary_horseracing_review.docx (16.8 KB)

Mary Scriver's review of sid's latet novel, Horseracing in America

"Prairie Mary" reviews Horseracing in America

This book was not at all what I expected, though it is exactly what the title, "Horse Racing in America," says. It is about the scandalous treatment — MIS-treatment — of race horses who are routinely destroyed because of running drugged on broken legs.  Oddly, there is no single horse who is the focus — rather, the animal we follow and fear for is a dog.  Not just any dog, but a rez dog.  In fact, I'm sure I've seen "Cowboy" on Sid Gustafson's websites.  He and I are both in the small category of white writers closely associated with the Blackfeet reservation over decades.  We crossed trails in the Sixties when Sid's dad was our veterinarian.  The story called "Smallpox" is in part drawn from Bob Scriver.  http://www.sidgustafson.com/disc.htm#.Xr6W1C-ZNoQ  Lots of photos here.
I've followed Sid's writing for many years and reviewed previous books.  I smiled to see he'd managed again to get Billy Big Springs into the story, a physically massive mentor of Sid's whom I also knew, but not so closely.  Consult https://sidgustafson.blogspot.com/2016/05/#.Xr6ReC-ZNoQ which is a previous review about a different book with the same internal story-drive.  Writers work this repeat, trying to resolve the inexplicable again and again.
This time the reader is led through horse anatomy, particularly legs, and the drugs used on horses, not so different from the drugs we have all become familiar with these days because of human addiction. Encagements of horses' heads with bits and tie-downs elaborated to control the horse have the ironic effect of making breathing near-impossible, especially when running.  The cruelty and attempt to control made me think of a medieval woman who spoke too much, even as they led her to be martyred by being burned alive. When she continued to shout to the crowd, her captors screwed her tongue to the top of her mouth.  These days Euros don't use such methods, which have remained part of the American obsession with control. 
Reading this book during current political developments  means it echoes with bribery, mafia schemes, semi-legality, evasion of regulation, perversion of science, and pretensions of grandeur.  But that's not what shines through all this machinery.  I'm not sure that even Sid realizes what he has written, as much in his subconscious as his intentions.  It's again as extraordinary as "Moby Dick," the detail and passion of obsession so strong as to be seen as madness.  In this version Sid names it "Dominion."
"Dominion came to haunt me, much as it had come to haunt Vallerone.  I despise the liberty man has taken with dominion over animals.  His animals. Ha. Folk desire dominion over goodness, and absurdly, dominion over all living things."  It's in the Bible.  But in the novel it is tied to veterinarians specifically through Herriot's use of a Bible quote for an epigraph of a book later than "All Things Bright and Beautiful", a book called "Every Living Thing": 
"Be fruitful and multiply,
and replenish the earth and subdue it:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea
and over the fowl of the air, 
and over every living thing
that moveth upon the earth."
(Genesis 1:28, repeated again and again)
Today this dictum has been thoroughly challenged, not least by women who defy domination, which is why the second veterinarian character, the protagonist, is a defiant idealistic female who has a daughter rather than a son. The two veterinarians share a happier plot line, but it is not about falling in love — rather the search for identity, the hunger for meaning.   Often Sid repeats his horse mantra, which is freedom, foraging and friends, as true of people as animals, as natural to the rolling grasslands of the rez as to the sea. This is not abstract, told in jargon when necessary, slanting metaphor when that works.  
Much of the plot plunges briskly through the chapters by means of repartee.  Abandonment of quotation marks works here without confusion, easily visualized, which suggests a translation to a movie, except that such a move would lose the lyric passages about place, which are crucial to the sense and senses of the story. Memories of the Montana east slope stand in contrast with the shore of the New York Finger Lakes where Sicilians run casinos that make living animals into electronic signifiers, bookkeeping wealth too easily manipulated.
Locating Vallerone's incarceration in a Veteran's Hospital means that men are as much victims of national dominions as are women, as much destroyed by territorial industrial revolution war as animals are by distorted competition.  But there's little lecturing on the obvious.  Just the overwhelming inner drive to understand what to do, to obey the compelling need to make the maimed whole again or at least give them dignity.
I looked up "Sleipner Publishing" and discovered that "In Norse mythology, Sleipnir (Old Norse "slippy" or "the slipper") is an eight-legged horse ridden by Odin.  Sleipnir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson."  In other words, a horse of the gods, ironically more pedestrian than Pegasus, but, wow, can he run!  Sid doesn't forget he has a Norse thread.

Somewhere I once read an anthropological report on a Blackfeet woman's specialty as a "horse doctor."  When the men came back from war or hunting, exhausted and possibly wounded themselves, the women took the horses to water and clean and a particularly skilled woman checked each one for wounds she would pack with healing herbs.  I think Sid read it, too, but I don't have a reference for it.  

Don't underestimate this book, but don't forget that Sid provides many nonfiction work on the same subject.

Sorrin Gunnar Gustafson
DOB December 16, 2018
Son of Jessy and Connor

Brief biography of Sid Gustafson's namesake uncle, Sid Gustafson.

"They brought his body down off of the hill on the back of a mule. He loved to go on pack trips as a young man, and it was a fitting way to bring his body off of the battle field. According to his friend Ed Bailey, who was in Africa with him, Sid took out the first machine gun nest that he encountered, but the Germans had another nearby machine gun nest that was located nearby to cover the nest he attacked. He was hit by fire from that location. His commanding officer told me that when they finally took that hill, it was a very strategic location. Sid's efforts helped them overtake that hill."
Brief biography of the last day of life of my namesake Uncle Sid, killed in WWII, written by Erik Raymond Gustafson.
Lt. Luther Sidney Gustafson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General George Patton for his extraordinary heroism in the Battle of Tunisia and the Purple Heart. General Giraud of the Corps Franc d’Afrique, whose troops also served with Lt. Gustafson, awarded Lt. Gustafson the second highest honor of the French Army, the “Croix des Militaires Volantaires”. Less than two (2) weeks later, on May 9, 1943, the Allied Forces took Tunisia, the final North African objective of Operation Torch.
Sid is buried in Tunisia along with 500 other men from the 2nd Army Corps. My brother Erik and I hope to visit his grave before we end up in ours.

"They brought his body down off of the hill on the back of a mule. He loved to go on pack trips as a young man, and it was a fitting way to bring his body off of the battle field."

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Luther Sidney Gustafson (0-446806), Second Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 28 April 1943, in the Battle of Tunisia. During the advance of Lieutenant Gustafson's battalion on Hill 382, he led a combat patrol to secure this position. When the patrol came under intense enemy machine gun fire, Lieutenant Gustafson deployed them to form an effective firing line while he made a personal reconnaissance of the emplacement. Locating the guns, he single-handedly attacked it with grenades and pistol and silenced it. During this heroic action, Lieutenant Gustafson lost his life, but his fearless leadership and spirit of self-sacrifice so inspired his men that they held their position until reinforcements were brought up. Second Lieutenant Gustafson's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, Seventh U.S. Army, General Orders No. 31 (1943)
Born: at Rapelje, Montana
Home Town: Gallatin County, Montana