On the Road Again: Montana's Changing Landscape

University of Washington Press
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In On the Road Again, William Wyckoff explores Montana�s changing physical and cultural landscape by pairing photographs taken by state highway engineers in the 1920s and 1930s with photographs taken at the same sites today. The older photographs, preserved in the archives of the Montana Historical Society, were intended to document the expenditure of federal highway funds. Because it is nearly impossible to photograph a road without also photographing the landscape through which that road passes, these images contain a wealth of information about the state�s environment during the early decades of the twentieth century. To highlight landscape changes -- and continuities -- over more than eighty years, Wyckoff chose fifty-eight documented locations and traveled to each to photograph the exact same view. The pairs of old and new photos and accompanying interpretive essays presented here tell a vivid story of physical, cultural, and economic change.

Wyckoff has grouped his selections to cover a fairly even mix of views from the eastern and western parts of the state, including a wide assortment of land use settings and rural and urban landscapes. The photo pairs are organized in thirteen �visual themes,� such as forested areas, open spaces, and sacred spaces, which parallel landscape change across the entire American West.

A close, thoughtful look at these photographs reveals how crops, fences, trees, and houses shape the everyday landscape, both in the first quarter of the twentieth century and in the present. The photographs offer an intimate view into Montana, into how Montana has changed in the past eighty years and how it may continue to change in the twenty-first century.

This is a book that will captivate readers who have, or hope to have, a tie to the Montana countryside, whether as resident or visitor. Regional and agricultural historians, geographers and geologists, and rural and urban planners will all find it fascinating.

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About the author

William Wyckoff is professor of geography at Montana State University, Bozeman.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Washington Press
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Published on
Oct 17, 2011
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9780295802329
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / United States / State & Local / West (AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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From deserts to ghost towns, from national forests to California bungalows, many of the features of the western American landscape are well known to residents and travelers alike. But in How to Read the American West, William Wyckoff introduces readers anew to these familiar landscapes. A geographer and an accomplished photographer, Wyckoff offers a fresh perspective on the natural and human history of the American West and encourages readers to discover that history has shaped the places where people live, work, and visit.

This innovative field guide includes stories, photographs, maps, and diagrams on a hundred landscape features across the American West. Features are grouped according to type, such as natural landscapes, farms and ranches, places of special cultural identity, and cities and suburbs. Unlike the geographic organization of a traditional guidebook, Wyckoff's field guide draws attention to the connections and the differences between and among places. Emphasizing features that recur from one part of the region to another, the guide takes readers on an exploration of the eleven western states with trips into their natural and cultural character.

How to Read the American West is an ideal traveling companion on the main roads and byways in the West, providing unexpected insights into the landscapes you see out your car window. It is also a wonderful source for armchair travelers and people who live in the West who want to learn more about the modern West, how it came to be, and how it may change in the years to come.

Showcasing the everyday alongside the exceptional, Wyckoff demonstrates how asking new questions about the landscapes of the West can let us see our surroundings more clearly, helping us make informed and thoughtful decisions about their stewardship in the twenty-first century.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYSmp5gZ4-I

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