The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, recently ranked number four on Adventure magazine’s list of top 100 classics, is legendary pioneer John Wesley Powell’s first-person account of his crew’s unprecedented odyssey along the Green and Colorado Rivers and through the Grand Canyon. A bold foray into the heart of the American West’s final frontier, the expedition was achieved without benefit of modern river-running equipment, supplies, or a firm sense of the region’s perilous topography and the attitudes of the native inhabitants towards whites.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Volume 1 A to G ISBN 9781582187488
Volume 2 H to M ISBN 9781582187495
Volume 3 N to S ISBN 9781582187509
Volume 4 T to Z ISBN 9781582187517
Seeing Things Whole presents John Wesley Powell in the full diversity of his achievements and interests, bringing together in a single volume writings ranging from his gripping account of exploring the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to his views on the evolution of civilization, along with the seminal writings in which he sets forth his ideas on western settlement and the allocation and management of western resources.
The centerpiece of Seeing Things Whole is a series of selections from the famous 1878 Report on the Lands of the Arid Region and related magazine articles in which Powell further develops the themes of the report. John Wesley Powell's bioregional vision remains a model for governance that many westerners see as a viable solution to the resource management conflicts that continue to plague the region.
Throughout the collection, award-winning writer and historian William deBuys brilliantly sets the historical context for Powell's work. Section introductions and extensive descriptive notes take the reader through the evolution of John Wesley Powell's interests and ideas from his critique of Social Darwinism and landmark categorization of Indian languages to the climactic yet ultimately futile battles he fought to win adoption of his land-use proposals.
Seeing Things Whole presents the essence of the extraordinary legacy that John Wesley Powell has left to the American people, and to people everywhere who strive to reconcile the demands of society with the imperatives of the land.
In his excellent work on the ruins of the Mesa Verde, Baron
Nordenskiöld speaks of calcined human bones being found in a stone cist at Step
House, and Mr. Wetherill is referred to as having observed evidence of
cremation elsewhere among the Mesa Verde cliff-dwellings. There can be no doubt
from the observations made in the refuse heaps at Cliff Palace that the
inhabitants of this village not only burned their dead but there was a special
room in the depths of the cave which was set aside for that purpose. One of these rooms, situated at the northern end of the
refuse heap, was excavated in the progress of the work and found to contain
bushels of very fine phosphate ashes, mixed with fragments of bones, some of
which are well enough preserved to enable their identification as human.
Accompanying these calcined bones were various mortuary objects not unlike
those occurring in graves where the dead were not cremated. The existence of
great quantities of ashes, largely containing phosphates, apparently derived from
the burned bones, forming much of the refuse, and the densely smoke-blackened
roof of the cave above them, are interpreted to indicate that the dead were
cremated in the cave back of the houses.
In addition to these burning places, or crematories, in the rear
of the buildings of Cliff Palace, there is good evidence of the same practice
on the mesa top. Here and there, especially in the neighborhood of the
clearings where the cliff-dwellers formerly had their farms, are round stone
inclosures, oftentimes several feet deep, in which occur great quantities of
bone ashes, fragments of pottery, and some stone objects. The surface of the
stones composing these inclosures shows the marks of intense fire, which, taken
in connection with the existence of fragments of human bones more or less
burned, indicate that the dead were cremated in these inclosures. It is not
clear, however, that the dead were not interred before cremation, and there is
reason for believing that the bodies were dried before they were committed to
the flames. The mortuary offerings, especially pottery, seem to have been placed in the burning places
after the heat had subsided, for beautiful jars showing no action of fire were
found in some of these inclosures. The existence of cremation among the
cliff-dwellers is offered as an explanation of the great scarcity of skeletons
in their neighborhood. When it is remembered that Cliff Palace must have had a
population of several hundred, judging from the number of the buildings, and
was inhabited for several generations, it otherwise would be strange that so
few skeletons were found. It would appear that the chiefs or the priestly class
were buried either in the ground or in the floors of the rooms, which were
afterward sealed, whereas the bodies of the poorer class, or the people
generally, were cremated. The former existence of Pueblo peoples who buried
their dead in the region between the Gila valley and Mesa Verde where the dead
were cremated is a significant fact, but further observations are necessary
before it can be interpreted. It may be that in ancient times all the sedentary
tribes practiced cremation, and that the region in question was settled after
this custom had been abandoned.