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: Donald Worster
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2002-11-28
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
If the word "hero" still belonged in the historian's lexicon, it would certainly be applied to John Wesley Powell. Intrepid explorer, careful scientist, talented writer, and dedicated conservationist, Powell led the expedition that put the Colorado River on American maps and revealed the Grand Canyon to the world. Now comes the first biography of this towering figure in almost fifty years--a book that captures his life in all its heroism, idealism, and ambivalent, ambiguous humanity. In A River Running West, Donald Worster, one of our leading Western historians, tells the story of Powell's great adventures and describes his historical significance with compelling clarity and skill. Worster paints a vivid portrait of how this man emerged from the early nineteenth-century world of immigrants, fervent religion, and rough-and-tumble rural culture, and barely survived the Civil War battle at Shiloh. The heart of Worster's biography is Powell's epic journey down the Colorado in 1869, a tale of harrowing experiences, lethal accidents, and breathtaking discoveries. After years in the region collecting rocks and fossils and learning to speak the local Native American languages, Powell returned to Washington as an eloquent advocate for the West, one of America's first and most influential conservationists. But in the end, he fell victim to a clique of Western politicians who pushed for unfettered economic development, relegating the aging explorer to a quiet life of anthropological contemplation. John Wesley Powell embodied the energy, optimism, and westward impulse of the young United States. A River Running West is a gorgeously written, magisterial account of this great American explorer and environmental pioneer, a true story of undaunted courage in the American West.
Author: Edward Dolnick
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2009-03-17
0n May 24, 1869, a one-armed Civil War veteran named John Wesley Powell and a ragtag band of nine mountain men embarked on the last great quest in the American West. No one had ever explored the fabled Grand Canyon; to adventurers of that era it was a region almost as mysterious as Atlantis -- and as perilous. The ten men set out down the mighty Colorado River in wooden rowboats. Six survived. Drawing on rarely examined diaries and journals, Down the Great Unknown is the first book to tell the full, true story.
Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is the story of four generations in the life of an American family. A wheelchair-bound retired historian embarks on a monumental quest: to come to know his grandparents, now long dead. The unfolding drama of the story of the American West sets the tone for Stegner's masterpiece.
"The definitive work on the West's water crisis." --Newsweek The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--an Eden that may only be a mirage. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winner of three O. Henry Awards, the Commonwealth Gold Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Kirsch Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, Wallace Stegner was a literary giant. In Marking the Sparrow's Fall, the first collection of Stegner's work published since his death, Stegner's son Page has collected, annotated, and edited fifteen essays that have never before been published in any edition, as well as a little-known novella and several of Stegner's best-known essays on the American West. Seventy-five percent of the contents of this body of work is published here for the first time.
Introduction by Terry Tempest Williams Afterword by T. H. Watkins Called a “magnificently crafted story . . . brimming with wisdom” by Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World, Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century. Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.
Written over a 25-year period, during a time when the West witnessed rapid changes to its cultural and natural heritage, the essays, memoirs, letters and speeches contained in "The Sound of Mountain Water" established Wallace Stegner's reputation as an important conservationist and novelist.
Author: John Wesley Powell
Publisher: Cosimo, Inc.
Release Date: 2008-12-01
Since we left the Colorado Chiquito we have seen no evidences that the tribe of Indians inhabiting the plateaus on either side ever come down to the river; but about eleven o'clock to-day we discover an Indian garden at the foot of the wall on the right, just where a little stream with a narrow flood plain comes down through a side canyon. Along the valley the Indians have planted corn, using for irrigation the water which bursts out in springs at the foot of the cliff. The corn is looking quite well, but it is not sufficiently advanced to give us roasting ears; but there are some nice green squashes. We carry ten or a dozen of these on board our boats and hurriedly leave, not willing to be caught in the robbery, yet excusing ourselves by pleading our great want. -from "August 26" Sometimes published under the name The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, but more properly known by its original title, Canyons of the Colorado is the gripping personal account of the first navigation of the Colorado River, in 1869, by the man who led the journey. American geologist and explorer JOHN WESLEY POWELL (1834-1902), head of the Powell Geographic Expedition and later director of the U.S. Geological Survey, here regales us with the thrilling tale of the ten-man team and its assignment to map the last unmapped regions of the western territories of the United States. The highlight of their three-month trip: the first known river journey through the wildness of the Grand Canyon. This replica of the 1895 edition includes all the original halftone illustrations. A classic of real-life adventure literature, it continues to captivate armchair explorers today.
Author: David Gessner
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2015-04-20
An homage to the West and to two great writers who set the standard for all who celebrate and defend it. Archetypal wild man Edward Abbey and proper, dedicated Wallace Stegner left their footprints all over the western landscape. Now, award-winning nature writer David Gessner follows the ghosts of these two remarkable writer-environmentalists from Stegner's birthplace in Saskatchewan to the site of Abbey's pilgrimages to Arches National Park in Utah, braiding their stories and asking how they speak to the lives of all those who care about the West. These two great westerners had very different ideas about what it meant to love the land and try to care for it, and they did so in distinctly different styles. Boozy, lustful, and irascible, Abbey was best known as the author of the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang (and also of the classic nature memoir Desert Solitaire), famous for spawning the idea of guerrilla actions—known to admirers as "monkeywrenching" and to law enforcement as domestic terrorism—to disrupt commercial exploitation of western lands. By contrast, Stegner, a buttoned-down, disciplined, faithful family man and devoted professor of creative writing, dedicated himself to working through the system to protect western sites such as Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado. In a region beset by droughts and fires, by fracking and drilling, and by an ever-growing population that seems to be in the process of loving the West to death, Gessner asks: how might these two farseeing environmental thinkers have responded to the crisis? Gessner takes us on an inspiring, entertaining journey as he renews his own commitment to cultivating a meaningful relationship with the wild, confronting American overconsumption, and fighting environmental injustice—all while reawakening the thrill of the words of his two great heroes.
Author: Stephen J. Pyne
Release Date: 1999-07-01
Dismissed by the first Spanish explorers as a wasteland, the Grand Canyon lay virtually unnoticed for three centuries until nineteenth- century America rediscovered it and seized it as a national emblem. This extraordinary work of intellectual and environmental history tells two tales of the Canyon: the discovery and exploration of the physical Canyon and the invention and evolution of the cultural Canyon--how we learned to endow it with mythic significance.Acclaimed historian Stephen Pyne examines the major shifts in Western attitudes toward nature, and recounts the achievements of explorers, geologists, artists, and writers, from John Wesley Powell to Wallace Stegner, and how they transformed the Canyon into a fixture of national identity. This groundbreaking book takes us on a completely original journey through the Canyon toward a new understanding of its niche in the American psyche, a journey that mirrors the making of the nation itself.
Literary agent Joe Allston, the central character of Stegner's novel All the Little Live Things, is now retired and, in his own words, 'just killing time until time gets around to killing me.' His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, had not been his choice. He passes through life as a spectator. A postcard from an old friend causes Allston to return to the journals of a trip he and his wife had taken years before, a journey to his mother's birthplace, where he'd sought a link with the past. The memories of that trip, both grotesque and poignant, move through layers of time and meaning, and reveal that Joe Allston isn't quite spectator enough. Wallace Stegner was the author of, among other works of fiction, Remembering Laughter (1973); The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943); Joe Hill (1950); All the Little Live Things (1967, Commonwealth Club Gold Medal); A Shooting Star (1961); Angle of Repose (1971, Pulitzer Prize); Recapitulation (1979); Crossing to Safety (1987); and Collected Stories (1990). His nonfiction includes Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (1954); Wolf Willow (1963); The Sound of Mountain Water (essays, 1969); The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard deVoto (1964); American Places (with Page Stegner, 1981); and Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West (1992). Three short stories have won O.Henry prizes, and in 1980 he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for his lifetime literary achievements.
Author: Wallace Earle Stegner
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Release Date: 2001-03-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Traces the life of the American novelist from his childhood in Utah, to Harvard, to his writing career that included novels, prize-winning Western histories, and his monthly column "Easy Chair" in Harper's magazine.
"Reppetto's book earns its place among the best . . . he brings fresh context to a familiar story worth retelling." —The New York Times Book Review Organized crime—the Italian American kind—has long been a source of popular entertainment and legend. Now Thomas Reppetto provides a balanced history of the Mafia's rise—from the 1880s to the post-WWII era—that is as exciting and readable as it is authoritative. Structuring his narrative around a series of case histories featuring such infamous characters as Lucky Luciano and Al Capone, Reppetto draws on a lifetime of field experience and access to unseen documents to show us a locally grown Mafia. It wasn't until the 1920s, thanks to Prohibition, that the Mafia assumed what we now consider its defining characteristics, especially its octopuslike tendency to infiltrate industry and government. At mid-century the Kefauver Commission declared the Mafia synonymous with Union Siciliana; in the 1960s the FBI finally admitted the Mafia's existence under the name La Cosa Nostra. American Mafia is a fascinating look at America's most compelling criminal subculture from an author who is intimately acquainted with both sides of the street.