Beyond the Hundredth Meridian

By Wallace Stegner,

Book cover of Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West

Book description

From the “dean of Western writers” (The New York Times) and the Pulitzer Prize winning–author of Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety, a fascinating look at the old American West and the man who prophetically warned against the dangers of settling it
In Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, Wallace Stegner…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Beyond the Hundredth Meridian as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

From this bracing and brilliant biography, I learned about how John Wesley Powell went on an epic Western discovery adventure and became inspired to challenge thousands of years of Anglo dogma about rain, rivers, land, and how humankind must live with them.

Basic conservation is such a part of American life today that, like gravity, which Newton gets credit for discovering, we forget the genius it first took to conceptualize it. No one is more foundational to conservation than one-armed Grand Canyon explorer Powell. His story is here told by an admiring author, Wallace Stegner, who understood that genius because…

From Nate's list on public lands and conservation.

Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt famously described his first reading of Stegner’s book about John Wesley Powell: it felt like a brick had been thrown through a windowpane, transforming his view of a West he thought he knew. The same thing happened to me when I read the book while serving as a Capitol Reef seasonal naturalist in my 20s. No one else writes like Stegner, who was born on the frontier and grew into a scholar of that frontier. In this book, he takes us along on Powell’s harrowing 1869 river trip down the Colorado River.…

From Stephen's list on Utah Canyon Country.

Stegner, one of my favorite writers, put running the rapids of the Colorado River at the top of my to-do list with his book about John Wesley Powell’s voyage of exploration down the Colorado River. It is one of the few books I have read more than once. More than a hair-raising story about exploration of one of the last unexplored tracts of the continental US, Stegner spells out Powell’s ideas about how to apportion Colorado River water among the several states it drains. Too bad his recommendations have been largely ignored.

From Arthur's list on exploration of the American West.

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