Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Judith St. George’s biography of Gutzon Borglum, The Mount Rushmore Story, is also an evolutionary biography of Mount Rushmore itself that provides readers with an intimate look at the monument’s genesis, from the scouting for a suitable mountain to the making of decisions about exactly who the sculpture would portray. Chronicling the sixteen-year struggle for completion of the project, the book also documents the conflicts that, because of Borglum’s volatile personality, arose from the time of the project’s inception to its conclusion and that kept the sculpture regularly embroiled in controversy. Mount Rushmore became a challenge in part because of Borglum’s temperamental nature and in part because of the lack of public support and finances. St. George focuses on Borglum’s inability to get along with people, even a former president of the United States; his lack of regard for financial propriety; and his compulsive need to be in complete control over the project, trusting no one else to make major decisions, including those that were not a matter of artistic expertise. To a great extent, the majority of St. George’s fourteen chapters concern themselves with the nature of these struggles, the people who angrily or resignedly worked with the sculptor, and the means—or more often the lack of them—for attaining needed funds.

The remaining chapters digress to provide useful background material for readers, who discover, for...

(The entire section is 463 words.)