Butch Cassidy Was Here Paperback – August 19, 2002
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"Knipmeyer’s collection of many thousands of inscription photographs sets him apart as the unchallenged authority in the field...[and] he knows how to tell a story."—Gary Topping, author of Glen Canyon and the San Juan Country
"Knipmeyer is a recognized authority on historic inscriptions found on the Colorado Plateau...he is known to many as ‘that inscription guy’...There is no other book that comes anywhere near the detail about these inscriptions."—Roy Webb, author of If We Had a Boat: Green River Explorers, Adventurers, and Runners
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The content of these historic inscriptions, of course, varies. Most are a name and a date, though many are simply a name or initials, while some contain only a date. Occasionally additional information is given: where they were from, where they were going, what they were doing or had done. But all of them proclaim to the world in one form or another that 'I was here. I am a part of history.'
- Paperback : 175 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0874807360
- ISBN-13 : 978-0874807363
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.5 x 8.75 inches
- Publisher : University of Utah Press; 1st edition (August 19, 2002)
- Language: : English
- Reading level : 18 and up
- Customer Reviews:
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Knipmeyer has arranged the book around a mix of time and place. For example, one chapter reviews inscriptions along the Little Colorado River in 1871-1899. This allows him to tell the story of explorers, settlers and ranchers in a particular time and place. He provides some connective material holding it all together. However, the typical chapter tells of a group of Mormons, sent to settle a particular place, who wrote their names on a rock along the way or near their final ranch site. Over and over.
The book lacks finding information, presumably to protect the inscriptions from vandalism. Descriptions are mostly general: "Grand Gulch" and so forth. There's a photo of almost every inscription he discusses, often four per page.
If you are an aficionado of historical graffiti, you'll like the photos and documentation. If you live in the region, you might like this as a kind of scavenger hunt: can I find the "Ephraim" inscription in House Rock Valley? Perhaps some historians will appreciate the documentation of settler and explorer activity in the region, though the book is too focused on inscriptions to provide a real narrative. Other readers will probably tire quickly of hearing about one settler's name on a rock after another.
It is about inscriptions, true, and features great photos of alphabetical carvings ranging as far back as (maybe) 1500 B.C. But along the way, the author puts every one of those carvings within their proper (and fascinating) contexts. He places the carvings within the appropriate stories; he describes their characters, and he attempts to explain the various westward movements the inscribers were a part of.
This book is a treat for lovers of the West and of the Colorado Plateau; it's obsessively researched, beautifully written, and presents a terrific overview of the history of the West.
(One thing though: I realize the author had to decide on a scope for his book--the examined inscriptions, for the most part, stop at 1900--but I would like to have heard his opinion on modern inscriptions. For instance, if Lake Powell ever gets drained, won't it be interesting to see--one hundred years from now--the inane insrciptions of houseboaters, carved hundreds of feet above the river's water level on cliffs completely unreachable by foot? I think so. I think history's never stopped; I think it's still happening.)
Anyway, this book is excellent. Buy it, read it, love it, and use it to spark your own adventures in the West.