Sep 18, 201209:05 AMThe Telegraph
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Western Words: Sept. 18, 2012
River Notes: A Natural and Human History of the Colorado, by Wade Davis
The Colorado River was one of the most stunning sights that greeted America’s first westward-bound travelers and pioneers. And it wasn’t long before they realized it could be put to practical use as well. Today, the Colorado sports 25 dams, and supplies much of the water to the cities of Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Wade Davis relates the history of what has been called “America’s Nile.” River Notes does not disparage the ways in which the river has contributed to the growth of the West, but it does reveal how mankind’s constant interference with its natural path has altered the water temperature and volume, and impacted the habitats of local species. He also provides a reminder that if we don’t take care of this natural resource, the results to the entire population of the west and southwest would be catastrophic.
Nanise', A Navajo Herbal: One Hundred Plants from the Navajo Reservation, by Vernon O. Mayes and Barbara Bayless Lacy
Barbara Bayless Lucy worked at the Navajo Health Authority, and among her duties was collecting information about traditional Navajo medicine. Her research into this field was the inspiration for Nanise', A Navajo Herbal. The book details 100 plants found on the Navajo Reservation, including ferns, horsetails, and conifers. Coauthor Vernon O. Mayes brought his own expertise to the topic, having first lived on the Navajo Reservation in 1958. One does not need to be a botanist to be fascinated by how the tribe used these plants for ceremonial, medicinal, or household purposes.
Are the Dallas Cowboys still America’s Team? Even after dropping a game to the Seahawks?
The story of the fabled football franchise is told anew with an emphasis on star power, outrageous athlete’s adventures and the emotional attachment fans have formed with generations of legendary players. Whether you love them or hate them, no other football team has a more flamboyant owner, a more luxurious stadium, more famous cheerleaders, or more soap opera-like stories that abound in a 52-year history. Even today’s diehard Cowboy fans might rather read about the exploits of Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. It’s better than reviewing Tony Romo’s stats last Sunday.
Every November in Texas, an annual deer hunt takes place that has been a generations-crossing ritual for many Lone Star families. For Rick Bass, the hunt has been a tradition that dates back 75 years, but one that he ultimately walks away from.
In A Thousand Deer, he takes readers on an evocative tour of a deer pasture in the Hill Country, the lessons he learned there about the cycles of nature, and the importance of teaching children about the natural world. It’s a very personal story that will no doubt resonate with anyone who grew up in a hunting family, as well as those with a passion for the preservation of wilderness and wildlife.
The American National State and the Early West, by Professor William H. Bergmann
Everyone knows that America began from 13 colonies and gradually expanded west over the next two centuries. And much of that expansion was no doubt inevitable. But how did it actually happen?
That’s the challenging topic of The American National State and the Early West, which details the federal government’s role — and its motivations — in broadening the nation’s borders. Professor William H. Bergmann focuses primarily on the time when “the West” consisted of the Ohio Valley and the southern Great Lakes. But the pattern established for how this land was acquired, populated, regulated, and governed is one that would repeat itself each time the frontier was further opened.
For more recent book releases, check out last week's Western Words post.