Of Rock and Rivers: Seeking a Sense of Place in the American West

Overview

This beautifully written and deeply personal collection of essays paints a progressive view of the American West as seen by a geologist. Ellen Wohl traces her twenty years of living and conducting research in the natural landscapes of the West as she investigates the conflict between environmental history and widely held romanticized views of the region. Wohl grew up in Ohio, subscribing to a common perception of the American West as an unchanged frontier. Moving to Arizona, she became enthralled with how the ...

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Overview

This beautifully written and deeply personal collection of essays paints a progressive view of the American West as seen by a geologist. Ellen Wohl traces her twenty years of living and conducting research in the natural landscapes of the West as she investigates the conflict between environmental history and widely held romanticized views of the region. Wohl grew up in Ohio, subscribing to a common perception of the American West as an unchanged frontier. Moving to Arizona, she became enthralled with how the landscapes and ecosystems of the West have undergone change, both through geologic time and during the historical era of European settlement. These essays tell of her early training as a geomorphologist and provide a memorable account of her research in the rivers of the West. As the lessons accrue, Wohl gives us the benefit of her experience and shows how years of studying and living in the Colorado Rockies have enhanced her understanding of landscape change through time. Building on the literary tradition of Joseph Wood Krutch, Terry Tempest Williams, and John McPhee, Wohl provides an up-to-date portrait of the West and brings a new urgency to the call for conservation of the region's land, water, and resources.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Wohl writes clearly and with appreciation about the western landscape’s rock formations and canyons, while her references to the region’s literary and historic canon are equally relevant.”
Deseret News
“The intricately detailed book is written in a lolling, peaceful way. . . . [It] reads like a beautiful novel.”
Earth Magazine
“Geomorphology may not have a mother, but Of Rock and Rivers proves that Ellen Wohl is the field’s sharp-eyed daughter.”
The Key Reporter - G. Cornelissen-Guillaume
“This book has all the qualities to make us appreciate even more the riches nature has to offer.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520257030
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,466,297
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Wohl is Professor of Geology at Colorado State University and the author of Disconnected Rivers and Virtual Rivers, as well as Rain Forest into Desert.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface

Part 1. Discovering the West

The Western Reserve
A Sense of Space
River Days: Paradise Found
River Days: Paradise Lost
The Delicate Strength of Rock
The Western Rampart
Where the Winds Live

Part 2.
Inheriting the Past

Colorado Burning
Let It Snow!
Equifinality
What Is Natural?
The Disillusioned Angler
Poisoning the Well

Epilogue: Adventures in the Still Unknown
Interior of North America
Bibliographic Sources and Further Reading

Index

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