GROWING UP WESTERN, edited by Clarus Backes (HarperCollins: $12.95). Larry McMurtry's foreword describes the seven octogenarian writers who contributed to this book as "the first literary generation the settled West produced." Dee Brown, A. B. Guthrie, David Lavender, Wright Morris, Clyde Rice, Wallace Stegner and Frank Waters all have been imbued with Western sensibilities that figure prominently in their work. More critically than commercially successful, they bear witness to the major transitions of the 20th Century--the introduction of the automobile; the expansion of the railroads; the diminishing presence of the Indians; the building of a Main Street in every town; gold fever; the Depression. These historical scribes' talents have taken them beyond the West's borders, but as Stegner observes, "It is a not unusual life curve for Westerners . . . to go away for study and enlargement and the perspective that distance and dissatisfaction can give, and then return where they belong."