They have tried to tame it, shave it, fence it, cut it, dam it, drain it, nuke it, poison it, pave it, and subdivide it," writes Timothy Egan of the West in his new book, but "this region's hold on the American character has never seemed stronger."
Lasso the Wind is a moving, funny, and incisive look at the eleven states "on the sunset side of the 100th meridian" that Egan regards as the true West. Fishing rod and notebook in hand, he travels by car and foot, horseback and raft, through a region struggling to find its future direction under both the ideological weight of the past and the commercial threats of the present.
He visits the Sky City of Acoma, which may be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America, and then goes to an instant town on the Colorado River--Lake Havasu City, built around the transplanted London Bridge. He meets an outlaw cowboy in New Mexico, grazing his cattle on federal land. From Las Vegas, a sprawling, ever-expanding monument to gaudiness and glitz, to the relatively untouched wilds of Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains, Egan leads us through the world of industrialists, politicians, ranchers, and developers, back to the heart of the land itself to see the wealth and grandeur that have inspired the dreams of generations.
Interweaving historical accounts with explorations of the contemporary landscape, Egan shows how and why the region came to its current state. We see why the errors and perils of the past continue to repeat themselves to this day, how enormous reserves of public land are being steadily chipped away by commercial interests and the demands of a growing population. But we also learn how some communities manage to avoid repeating these mistakes and to win successes, played out in the land and water, in the struggle between possibility and possession.
Lasso the Wind eloquently captures the American West in all its promise, in all its pain, and in all its glory.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
The American West has always been as much a symbol as a location; as much a myth as a destination. "If land and religion are what people most often kill each other over," writes Timothy Egan, "then the West is different only in that the land is the religion. As such, the basic struggle is between the West of possibility and the West of possession." This struggle for possession is a recurring theme in Lasso the Wind, involving individuals such as Kit Laney, the "Last Cowboy in America," who defiantly refuses to pay for grazing rights on public land; Patricia Mulroy, the head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, who works to bring more water to Las Vegas' casinos, golf courses, and subdivisions, even if it means damming the Virgin River running through Zion National Park in Utah; and Robert P. McCulloch, a zealous developer who reassembled each stone of the London Bridge in the Arizona desert in an attempt to draw people to his contrived dream town. These 14 enlightening and entertaining essays are the result of Egan's tour of the 11 states "on the sunset side of the 100th meridian," which led him from remote villages without road access to sprawling suburbs carved out of parched earth and desert rock in an attempt to see how the history of the West--binding myths and all--has left its imprint on the West's present condition.
The Pacific Northwest correspondent for the New York Times and a first-rate storyteller, Egan writes with humor and a gimlet eye, proving himself a reliable guide to a wildly diverse region on the cusp of old and new. --Shawn CarkonenFrom the Publisher:
"It's like a good road trip across the West."
--Terry Tempest Williams
"An often startling study of how and why the West became what it is."
--Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
"Here is the REAL West of today--some of it still Old West, much of it New--told in a wonderful, entertaining style."
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Knopf, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0375400249
Book Description Knopf, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110375400249
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0375400249 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0115551