From the “dean of Western writers” (The New York Times) and the Pulitzer Prize winning–author of Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety, a fascinating look at the old American West and the man who prophetically warned against the dangers of settling it In Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, Wallace Stegner recounts the sucesses and frustrations of John Wesley Powell, the distinguished ethnologist and geologist who explored the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon, and the homeland of Indian tribes of the American Southwest. A prophet without honor who had a profound understanding of the American West, Powell warned long ago of the dangers economic exploitation would pose to the West and spent a good deal of his life overcoming Washington politics in getting his message across. Only now, we may recognize just how accurate a prophet he was.
Author: Martin Padget
Publisher: UNM Press
Release Date: 2006
Indian Countryanalyzes the works of Anglo writers and artists who encountered American Indians in the course of their travels in the Southwest during the one-hundred-year period beginning in 1840. Martin Padget looks first at the accounts produced by government-sponsored explorers, most notably John Wesley Powell's writings about the Colorado Plateau. He goes on to survey the writers who popularized the region in fiction and travelogue, including Helen Hunt Jackson and Charles F. Lummis. He also introduces us to Eldridge Ayer Burbank, an often-overlooked artist who between 1897 and 1917 made thousands of paintings and drawings of Indians from over 140 western tribes. Padget addresses two topics: how the Southwest emerged as a distinctive region in the minds of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Americans, and what impact these conceptions, and the growing presence of Anglos, had on Indians in the region. Popular writers like Jackson and Lummis presented the American Indians as a "primitive culture waiting to be discovered" and experienced firsthand. Later, as Padget shows, Anglo activists for Indian rights, such as Mabel Dodge Luhan and Mary Austin, worked for the acceptance of other views of Native Americans and their cultures.
Author: Peter Wild
Publisher: University of Utah Press
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Literary Collections
The New Desert Reader brings together a historical cross section of writing about the American Southwest in selections that demonstrate how thinking about American deserts has changed from the earliest times to the present day. Beginning with the centuries-old legends of the Tohono O'Odham Indians, it moves through the foresighted observations of John Wesley Powell, one-armed explorer of the Grand Canyon; continues with the delicate appreciations of Mary Austin and Joseph Wood Krutch; includes examples of the keen activist writings of Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey; and finishes with such contemporary desert writers as Tony Hillerman and others. A slow change in outlook dominates the book, as attitudes shift from viewing the desert as a place to be despised or exploited to an appreciation of it as a special place, an arena of highly complex natural communities, and a wild refuge for the human body and soul. Comprehensive and brightly informative, The New Desert Reader will be invaluable to anyone interested in the history, literature, and beauty of North America's treasured desert places.
Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) was, in the words of historian T. H. Watkins, "a walking tower of American letters." Winner of the Pulitzer prize and the National Book Award for fiction, founder of the Stanford Writing Program, recipient of three Guggenheim fellowships and innumerable honorary degrees, Stegner was both a brilliant writer and an exceptional teacher.Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision brings together leading literary critics, historians, legal scholars, geographers, scientists, and others to present a multifaceted exploration of Stegner's work and its impact, and a thought-provoking examination of his life. Contributors consider Stegner as writer, as historian, and as conservationist, discussing his place in the American literary tradition, his integral role in shaping how Americans relate to the land, and his impact on their own personal lives and careers. They present an eclectic mix of viewpoints as they explore aspects of Stegner's work that they find most intriguing, inspiring, and provocative: Jackson J. Benson on the personal qualities that so distinctively shaped Stegner's writings Walter Nugent on the historical context of Stegner's definition of the West T. H. Watkins on Stegner's contributions to the modern conservation movement Terry Tempest Williams on Stegner's continuing importance as an "elder" in the community of writers he nurtured Other contributors include Dorothy Bradley, John Daniel, Daniel Flores, Melody Graulich, James R. Hepworth, Richard L. Knight, Curt Meine, Thomas R. Vale, Elliott West, and Charles F. Wilkinson.Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision is an illuminating look at Stegner's many and varied contributions to American literature and society. Longtime admirers of Stegner will appreciate it for the new perspectives it provides, while readers less familiar with him will find it a valuable and accessible introduction to his life and work.
Author: Jon Krakauer
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 2013-05-30
Genre: True Crime
Brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty insist they were commanded to kill by God. Krakauer's investigation is a meticulously researched, bone-chilling narrative of polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith: an incisive, gripping work of non-fiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behaviour. 'A provocative look at the twisted roots of American fundamentalism' Will Self, Evening Standard Books of the Year ‘Excellent . . . a lucid, judicious, even sympathetic account not just of Mormon Fundamentalism but of the seductive power of fanaticism in general’ Daily Telegraph ‘Krakauer writes exceptionally well: as thrilling as Capote on true crime, as devastating as Nietzsche on religious fundamentalism’ Scotland on Sunday ‘Remarkable . . . for anyone interested in the wilder frontiers of spiritual conviction, this book is a must’ Independent 'Krakauer is an adept chronicler of extremists, and he's as intent on understanding religious fanatics as he was in his earlier books on exploring the obsessions of monomaniacal adventurers' Los Angeles Times
Author: Wade Davis
Publisher: Island Press
Release Date: 2012-10-17
Plugged by no fewer than twenty-five dams, the Colorado is the world's most regulated river drainage. The Colorado River provides most of the water supply of Las Vegas, Tucson, and San Diego, and much of the power and water of Los Angeles and Phoenix, cities that are home to more than 25 million people. If it ceased flowing, the water held in its reservoirs might hold out for three to four years, but after that it would be necessary to abandon most of southern California and Arizona, and much of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. For the entire American Southwest the Colorado is indeed the river of life, which makes it all the more tragic and ironic that by the time it approaches its final destination, it has been reduced to a shadow upon the sand, its delta dry and deserted, its flow a toxic trickle seeping into the sea. In this remarkable blend of history, science, and personal observation, acclaimed author Wade Davis tells the story of America's Nile, how it once flowed freely and how human intervention has left it near exhaustion, altering the water temperature, volume, local species, and shoreline of the river Theodore Roosevelt once urged us to "leave it as it is.” Yet despite a century of human interference, Davis writes, the splendor of the Colorado lives on in the river's remaining wild rapids, quiet pools, and sweeping canyons. The story of the Colorado River is the human quest for progress and its inevitable if unintended effects—and an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and foster the rebirth of America's most iconic waterway. A beautifully told story of historical adventure and natural beauty, River Notes is a fascinating journey down the river and through mankind's complicated and destructive relationship with one of its greatest natural resources.
Author: Craig Anthony Arnold
Publisher: Environmental Law Institute
Release Date: 2005
It is unrealistic and unwise to believe that water law will or should govern land use decisions, or alternatively that land use planning and regulation will or should govern water management. Nonetheless, the initially unsettling question of whether one area of law and policy should control the other provokes discussion and reflection on both why and how we might move toward greater integration of land and water controls. Wet Growth: Should Water Law Control Land Use? was written as a means to disseminate new ideas about the land/water interface in law and policy and provides an overview of the relevant issues, current trends toward integrating land and water controls, and prospects for further progress. The authors of this book describe the nature and costs of our currently fragmented management of land and water resources that results in unsustainable practices and suggest principles that should guide and direct our response to these problems. Although they take differing perspectives, the authors share common, or at least overlapping, observations about the fragmentation and integration of land and water controls.
Author: John F. Freeman
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Release Date: 2008-11-30
High Plains Horticulture explores the significant, civilizing role that horticulture has played in the development of farmsteads and rural and urban communities on the High Plains portions of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming, drawing on both the science and the application of science practiced since 1840. Freeman explores early efforts to supplement native and imported foodstuffs, state and local encouragement to plant trees, the practice of horticulture at the Union Colony of Greeley, the pioneering activities of economic botanists Charles Bessey (in Nebraska) and Aven Nelson (in Wyoming), and the shift from food production to community beautification as the High Plains were permanently settled and became more urbanized. In approaching the history of horticulture from the perspective of local and unofficial history, Freeman pays tribute to the tempered idealism, learned pragmatism, and perseverance of individuals from all walks of life seeking to create livable places out of the vast, seemingly inhospitable High Plains. He also suggests that, slowly but surely, those that inhabit them have been learning to adjust to the limits of that fragile land. High Plains Horticulture will appeal to not only scientists and professionals but also gardening enthusiasts interested in the history of their hobby on the High Plains.
Author: Kevin Starr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1990-04-12
Kevin Starr is the foremost chronicler of the California dream and indeed one of the finest narrative historians writing today on any subject. The first two installments of his monumental cultural history, "Americans and the California Dream," have been hailed as "mature, well-proportioned and marvelously diverse (and diverting)" (The New York Times Book Review) and "rich in details and alive with interesting, and sometimes incredible people" (Los Angeles Times). Now, in Material Dreams, Starr turns to one of the most vibrant decades in the Golden State's history, the 1920s, when some two million Americans migrated to California, the vast majority settling in or around Los Angeles. In a lively and eminently readable narrative, Starr reveals how Los Angeles arose almost defiantly on a site lacking many of the advantages required for urban development, creating itself out of sheer will, the Great Gatsby of American cities. He describes how William Ellsworth Smyth, the Peter the Hermit of the Irrigation Crusade, the self-educated, Irish engineer William Mulholland (who built the main aquaducts to Los Angeles), and George Chaffey (who diverted the Colorado River, transforming desert into the lush Imperial Valley) brought life-supporting water to the arid South. He examines the discovery of oil, the boosters and land developers, the evangelists (such as Bob Shuler, the Methodist Savanarola of Los Angeles, and Aimee Semple McPherson), and countless other colorful figures of the period. There are also fascinating sections on the city's architecture the impact of the automobile on city planning, the Hollywood film community, the L.A. literati, and much more. By the end of the decade, Los Angeles had tripled in population and become the fifth largest city in the nation. In Material Dreams, Starr captures this explosive growth in a narrative tour de force that combines wide-ranging scholarship with captivating prose.
Author: Andrew Ross
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2011-10-27
Genre: Social Science
Phoenix, Arizona is one of America's fastest growing metropolitan regions. It is also its least sustainable one, sprawling over a thousand square miles, with a population of four and a half million, minimal rainfall, scorching heat, and an insatiable appetite for unrestrained growth and unrestricted property rights. In Bird on Fire, eminent social and cultural analyst Andrew Ross focuses on the prospects for sustainability in Phoenix--a city in the bull's eye of global warming--and also the obstacles that stand in the way. Most authors writing on sustainable cities look at places that have excellent public transit systems and relatively high density, such as Portland, Seattle, or New York. But Ross contends that if we can't change the game in fast-growing, low-density cities like Phoenix, the whole movement has a major problem. Drawing on interviews with 200 influential residents--from state legislators, urban planners, developers, and green business advocates to civil rights champions, energy lobbyists, solar entrepreneurs, and community activists--Ross argues that if Phoenix is ever to become sustainable, it will occur more through political and social change than through technological fixes. Ross explains how Arizona's increasingly xenophobic immigration laws, science-denying legislature, and growth-at-all-costs business ethic have perpetuated social injustice and environmental degradation. But he also highlights the positive changes happening in Phoenix, in particular the Gila River Indian Community's successful struggle to win back its water rights, potentially shifting resources away from new housing developments to producing healthy local food for the people of the Phoenix Basin. Ross argues that this victory may serve as a new model for how green democracy can work, redressing the claims of those who have been aggrieved in a way that creates long-term benefits for all. Bird on Fire offers a compelling take on one of the pressing issues of our time--finding pathways to sustainability at a time when governments are dismally failing in their responsibility to address climate change.
Author: Mark W. T. Harvey
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Release Date: 2011-10-01
Genre: Technology & Engineering
Harvey details the first major clash between conservationists and developers after World War II, the successful fight to prevent the building of Echo Park Dam. The dam on the Green River was intended to create a recreational lake in northwest Colorado and generate hydroelectric power, but would have flooded picturesque Echo Park Valley and threatened Dinosaur National Monument, straddling the Utah-Colorado border near Wyoming.