A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell

A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell

4.5 23
by Donald Worster
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195156358

ISBN-13: 9780195156355

Pub. Date: 11/28/2002

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195156355
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
688
Sales rank:
271,383
Product dimensions:
9.19(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.75(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Green River Station, 1869 ix
Part One: Northern Days
A Mission to America
3(34)
Rising on the Prairie
37(48)
The Hornets' Nest of War
85(24)
Part Two: Canyons of the Colorado
Westward The Naturalist
109(46)
Down the Great Unknown
155(48)
Surveying The High Plateaus
203(58)
Kapurats
261(36)
The Sublimest Thing on Earth
297(40)
Democracy Encounters the Desert
337(46)
Part Three: Washington, D.C.
Myths and Maps
383(54)
Redeeming the Earth
437(30)
The Problem of the West
467(66)
Journey's End
533(42)
Notes 575(36)
Bibliography 611(34)
Acknowledgments 645(2)
Index 647

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A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
AwayNGone More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that I have kept aside in hardcover as well as digital format. For those who love a well-told tale, a fascinating life, real adventure and a love of history, this is the perfect book. Five stars!
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