By Donald Worster
If the be aware "hero" nonetheless belonged within the historian's lexicon, it will definitely be utilized to John Wesley Powell. Intrepid explorer, cautious scientist, proficient author, and devoted conservationist, Powell led the day trip that placed the Colorado River on American maps and printed the Grand Canyon to the area. Now comes the 1st biography of this towering determine in nearly fifty years--a booklet that captures his lifestyles in all its heroism, idealism, and ambivalent, ambiguous humanity. In A River working West, Donald Worster, considered one of our top Western historians, tells the tale of Powell's nice adventures and describes his ancient importance with compelling readability and ability. Worster paints a shiny portrait of ways this guy emerged from the early nineteenth-century global of immigrants, fervent faith, and rough-and-tumble rural tradition, and infrequently survived the Civil struggle conflict at Shiloh. the center of Worster's biography is Powell's epic trip down the Colorado in 1869, a story of harrowing reports, deadly injuries, and breathtaking discoveries. After years within the zone gathering rocks and fossils and studying to talk the neighborhood local American languages, Powell back to Washington as an eloquent recommend for the West, one in every of America's first and such a lot influential conservationists. yet in any case, he fell sufferer to a clique of Western politicians who driven for unfettered monetary improvement, relegating the getting older explorer to a quiet lifetime of anthropological contemplation. John Wesley Powell embodied the power, optimism, and westward impulse of the younger usa. A River working West is a gorgeously written, magisterial account of this nice American explorer and environmental pioneer, a real tale of undaunted braveness within the American West.
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Additional resources for A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell
36 But he let all such opportunities slide, leaving others to set up coal-extracting and iron-smelting operations. Instead of tumbling to those opportunities, what Joseph did, besides preach many sermons and cut out many waistcoats, was invest in land. The land was extraordinarily cheap and he had never owned much before. Now he began to plunge. According to Jackson County courthouse records, he filed on the deed to his house lot on 4 September 1838, a few months after arriving. Then in October he bought an interest in a four-acre lot on the south side of town and in November took sole possession of a similar outlot across Salt Lick Creek, which he soon sold for $110, making a 10 percent gain in less than four weeks.
In politics, he was a Whig, the more conservative party of his day, and repeatedly he was a candidate for the Ohio legislature, though never elected. Whatever they thought of his views, the townsmen stood in awe of his girth and intellect. ”41 Crookham’s views on strong drink may have been controversial, but even more controversial were his views on slavery and African Americans. He despised the peculiar institution on which the southern economy rested. Reputedly, any help he could give a runaway slave he would give, and consider it, no matter how illegal, a moral victory for freedom and decency.
His house had become a hotbed of menacing abolitionists, Oberlin miscegenationists, Birney and his Liberty zealots, indeed, all manner of strange, subversive fanatics. He was notoriously against drink in a town that liked drinking. When he stood on the courthouse steps and openly advocated the Liberty ticket, he was mobbed. ”51 Nor was that the end of repressive violence. One day Crookham came hustling up to the Powells’s door to announce that his schoolmuseum had been burned to the ground by vandals, which he saw as an act of retaliation against his own outspoken views.
A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell by Donald Worster