Book Reviews


endless stories waiting to be discovered wherever you look

"If you want to get the most out of How to Read the American West, please wander its pages in a spirit of play, much as you would the landscape itself.... Once you can identify the various features that William Wyckoff puts before you in these pages, you'll be well on your way to reading the western landscape for yourself, with endless stories waiting to be discovered wherever you look."

—From the foreword by William Cronon


"Every coordinate on the landscape is much more than an intersection of longitude and latitude: it is a unique location representing the confluence of geography and geology, natural history and—probably most importantly—human history. With its awe-inspiring canyons and imposing mountains, its mesmerizing distances and daunting deserts, the American West has been a meeting ground for diverse populations, a dreamscape upon which one group after another has left its distinctive mark. Across this vast terrain of time and space, William Wyckoff has uncovered patterns in the land and the people who have populated it&msash;and produced this handy field guide for those of us who choose to follow him."

—Dayton Duncan, writer and producer of The National Parks: America's Best Idea


"Creative, thoughtful, and compelling, How to Read the American West makes the reader think in new ways about the everyday landscape. It shows a deep and thoughtful knowledge of the diversity of the West, and the engaging 'eye' at work throughout is both trustworthy and provocative. While most books ask you to engage primarily with the book, this book gets readers to engage with the landscape itself. The author has true expertise, but rather than providing all the answers and connections, he pushes readers to develop their own expertise and command of western landscapes."

—Kathryn Morse, author of The Nature of Gold

Creative, thoughtful, & compelling