Environmental Economics

Download A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell by Donald Worster PDF

By Donald Worster

If the notice "hero" nonetheless belonged within the historian's lexicon, it's going to definitely be utilized to John Wesley Powell. Intrepid explorer, cautious scientist, proficient author, and devoted conservationist, Powell led the day trip that placed the Colorado River on American maps and published the Grand Canyon to the realm. Now comes the 1st biography of this towering determine in virtually fifty years--a publication that captures his existence in all its heroism, idealism, and ambivalent, ambiguous humanity. In A River working West, Donald Worster, one among our best Western historians, tells the tale of Powell's nice adventures and describes his ancient value with compelling readability and talent. Worster paints a vibrant portrait of the way this guy emerged from the early nineteenth-century global of immigrants, fervent faith, and rough-and-tumble rural tradition, and infrequently survived the Civil warfare conflict at Shiloh. the guts of Worster's biography is Powell's epic trip down the Colorado in 1869, a story of harrowing reviews, deadly injuries, and breathtaking discoveries. After years within the zone accumulating rocks and fossils and studying to talk the neighborhood local American languages, Powell lower back to Washington as an eloquent recommend for the West, considered one of America's first and such a lot influential conservationists. yet after all, he fell sufferer to a clique of Western politicians who driven for unfettered financial improvement, relegating the getting older explorer to a quiet lifetime of anthropological contemplation. John Wesley Powell embodied the strength, optimism, and westward impulse of the younger usa. A River working West is a gorgeously written, magisterial account of this nice American explorer and environmental pioneer, a real tale of undaunted braveness within the American West.

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Extra info for A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell

Sample text

The simplicity of the system was appealing to a people who had experienced all the uncertainties and irregularities of using the land’s own features as boundary markers — a stream here, a hill there, a tree over there. On the other hand, the simplicity gained by ignoring the natural contours of the land levied a long-term cost on settlers, on politicians, and later on land-use planners who had to wrestle with the manifold discrepancies between a simple, rational geometry and a messy, complicated terrain.

19 While Rochester could point to Finney and his stupendous achievements, Palmyra made its own contribution to the religious ferment, one that would eventually reverberate to the far western deserts. Palmyra was the birthplace of Mormonism. Joseph Smith, an uneducated farm boy living south of the village center, claimed to have found on a nearby drumlin, Hill Cumorah, a set of golden plates written over in strange hieroglyphics that he alone could read. Sitting behind a curtain, he translated them aloud as a new revelation from God.

So, with many tearful good-byes, the family packed their clothes and portable goods and headed deeper into the nation’s interior . The society that the Powells had joined was in perpetual motion, and from the start the Powells merged into the flow. They had become used to saying good-bye in Hull and Shrewsbury, in Birmingham and Wolverhampton; clearly, being in motion was not something they had to wait to learn in the New World. Tradition, roots, community had never been very important to them, so long as they could find brothers and sisters in Christ wherever they went.

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