From there he went by train, desert automobile, and stage coach to the gold fields of Nevada. Wherever he went, there was bustle, progress, and unquenchable optimism, as the frontier closed and America began to grow into the world's superpower. Brought to new life by the historian and novelist Daniel Ford.
Both Ralph D. Paine and Daniel Ford began as journalists and war correspondents, Paine in Cuba and the Boxer Rebellion, Ford in South Vietnam. In time, the younger man fell in love with Paine's granddaughter and with his early and splendid account of the American West shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Here is the book again -- edited, abridged, and annotated for the present century.
The essays, related to one another by their concern with how power is exercised in, over, and by western places, cover a wide range of times and topics, from 18th-century Spanish New Mexico to 19th-century British Columbia to 20th-century Sun Valley and Los Angeles. They encompass analyses of the concept and rhetoric of race, theoretical speculations on gender and powerlessness, and insights on the causes of current environmental crises.
Forest and wildland fires are growing larger, more numerous, and deadlier every year — record drought conditions, decades of forestry mismanagement, and the increasing encroachment of residential housing into the wilderness have combined to create a powder keg that threatens millions of acres and thousands of lives every year. One select group of men and women are part of America's front-line defense: smokejumpers. The smokejumper program operates through both the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Though they are tremendously skilled and only highly experienced and able wildland firefighters are accepted into the training program, being a smokejumper remains an art that can only be learned on the job. Forest fires often behave in unpredictable ways: spreading almost instantaneously, shooting downhill behind a stiff tailwind, or even flowing like a liquid. In this extraordinarily rare memoir by an active-duty jumper, Jason Ramos takes readers into his exhilarating and dangerous world, explores smokejumping’s remarkable history, and explains why their services are more essential than ever before.
The Colorado River is an essential resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado’s headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry.
Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on.
The story Owen tells in Where the Water Goes is crucial to our future: how a patchwork of engineering marvels, byzantine legal agreements, aging infrastructure, and neighborly cooperation enables life to flourish in the desert —and the disastrous consequences we face when any part of this tenuous system fails.