John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) is best remembered for leading the first expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1869. However, he should more accurately be recalled for directing the survey that mapped the region around the canyon and for establishing and directing the Bureau of American Ethnology in the Smithsonian Institution, which put the study of Native Americans on a scientific footing. Drawing on a large number of archival and published sources, Worster (history, Univ. of Kansas; Dust Bowl) traces Powell's life from his frontier childhood through his years in Washington directing both the Bureau and the Geological Survey. The author delineates the influences that led Powell to the West in the first place and shows how he fit into the intellectual milieu of the late 19th century. This thorough and detailed biography is highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.DStephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Worster's life-of covers every detail of Powell's peregrinations and writings, fitting them into the great matters that occupied his life. A fascination with nature inspired Powell's self-education in geology and archaeology; as a young man, he lost an arm in the Battle of Shiloh, and following the Civil War, he gained fame as the explorer of the final unmapped stretches of the Colorado River. Thus wearing the laurels as the contemporary authority on all things western, including water rights and the regulation of relations with Native Americans, Powell, boosted by the political patronage of James Garfield, reached the top of the then-tiny federal bureaucracy of the 1880s, as chief of both the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian's Bureau of Ethnology. In all, an event-crowded and courageous career, yet Powell the personality is much the fainter element here, through no fault of Worster's, whose subject was disinclined toward self-reflection. The dangerous adventure of Powell's Colorado River runs of 1869 and 1871-72 carries most of the water here and parlays Worster's opus into a stalwart position in western historiography. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It is well worth reading, but be prepared for some tedious exposition.Published 10 months ago by Virginia Boding
This was an excellent account of Wesley Powell's dangerous exploration of the Colorado River. We navigated the length of the river using nothing more than wooden canoes. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jim Sullivan
He was definitely ahead of his time in terms of his view of the fragility of our environment versus the (over) development (dam construction) and demands placed upon our wonderful... Read morePublished on May 9, 2013 by Sunflower
A detailed look at one of our unsung military heros that pursued his passion. A good read with many revelations. Read morePublished on February 1, 2013 by R. F. Delanoy
This is an impressive account of John Wesley Powell's public persona and offers interesting background concerning the times during which he lived and the opening up of the West. Read morePublished on February 2, 2011 by K.S.Ziegler
John Wesley Powell, a man for dry seasons
After many diversions, I finally finished reading A River Running West, Donald Worster's full-scale biography of John Wesley... Read more
The title a River Running West is something of a misnomer. One could infer from this title that the bulk of this work centers upon Powell's Colorado River excursions (the front... Read morePublished on April 4, 2006 by nto62