THE SOUTHWEST: Gold, God, & Grandeur
National Geographic Society • 2001 • $35.00
ISBN 0-7922-6436-3 • 256 pages
A vast, austerely beautiful landscape of parched desert, snow-capped mountains, and some of the most spectacular canyons on earth, the American Southwest is a region studded with natural wonders and steeped in fascinating history. This vivid, colorful volume captures the many moods and the singular spirit of a remarkable corner of America. With an engrossing text, The Southwest ranges across thousands of years, from the ancient cities of lost civilizations like the Hohokam and Ancestral Puebloan to the 16th-century Spanish conquistadores and friars to the legendary gunslingers of the Wild West to the top-secret Los Alamos labs where the atomic bomb was born.
Paul Robert Walker evokes a powerful sense of history’s sweep and the succession of peoples – Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo – whose stories are told in the silent ruins of Chaco Canyon or on a terse headstone on Tombstone’s fabled Boot Hill. Here are Spanish invaders in feverish quest of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold and Texan rebels making a valiant stand at the Alamo, the pitched battles of the Mexican War and the raids of the Indian Wars that pitted the U.S. Army against such brave, resourceful foes as the Comanche and the Chiricahua. Devout Spanish friars spreading the Gospel, killers like Billy the Kid, cattle barons like John Chisum and Charles Goodnight, and gold miners with nothing but a mule, a shovel, and a dream inhabit the pages alongside a host of others, including Francisco Coronado, Davy Crockett, Judge Roy Bean, Geronimo, and Pancho Villa.
The Southwest is among the most dramatic landscapes in the world, and George H. H. Huey’s photographs do it breathtaking justice—a sunlit mesa thrusting out of a sea of sagebrush, an adobe ruin framed by an angular rock formation, and a monumental canyon panorama that evokes a stunned gasp of awe. As it ranges from California, New Mexico, and Arizona to Utah, Colorado and Texas, the book makes it splendidly clear why the Southwest is home to more national parks and monuments than any other area of the United States, and presents ongoing efforts to preserve the region's extraordinary legacy.