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A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell Paperback – November 28, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Digital edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Digital edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Compared to Stegner, who may be a point of reference for many readers curious about this book, Worster paints a far more complete picture of Powell, delving much deeper into journals and letters kept by colleagues, underlings, and exploratory co-travlers of his.
We see a Powell who was NOT totally Stegner's beknighted prophet of a kinder, gentler Western development. Powell did favor independent farmers over corporate conglomerates, but just as much as Nevada's Sen. Stewart, he wanted to drain every last drop from the Colorado. And, Worster also shows how he ran afoul of the most ardent forest conservation advocates late in his Washington career.
In short, Worster indicates the semi-mythical Powell, not just of Stegner but some other writers, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Worster puts Powell's evangelical -- yes, evangelical -- fervor for irrigation in the backdrop of his childhood Methodism. While there's no way of proving this, it is certainly a reasonable interpretation.
He also paints a broader picture of Powell the bureaucrat. Here again, he differs somewhat from Stegner, suggesting that Powell bears a bit of the blame, at least, for his own wing-clipping by Stewart et al late in his career.
At the same time, Worster gives a detailed portrait of just how hard-working Powell was, both as a Washingtonian and the explorer of the Colorado River and Plateau.
In essence, this is "revisionist history" at its best and most proper.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome book. I bought it to read while I spent a week at Lake Powell. Altogether it made for an awesome combination. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Justme
Fascinating book and fascinating man. Opens up the west and the late 19th century in a way that helps us make sense of our history. Puts perspective on the politics of today.Published 7 months ago by Ned Tillman
It is well worth reading, but be prepared for some tedious exposition.Published on October 9, 2014 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 on February 25, 2014 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