Thursday, March 24, 2011

The West An Illustrated History

I picked this book off my shelf this morning and almost dropped it, it was so heavy. It is 9  1/2" by 11 1/2", not quite as large as the normal coffee table book, but is jammed and crammed with 445 pages of writing and photos. It's authored by Geoffrey C. Ward with a Preface by Stephen Ives and Ken Burns. This is the book that resulted from the television series that puts the whole thing in one place for those interested in delving more into it.

The Preface states, "With all its heroism and inequity, exploitation and adventure, sober realities and bright myths, it is the story of all of us, no matter where on the continent we happen to live, no matter how recently our ancestors arrived on its shores." So be it.

It covers the first explorers, the gold-seekers, the Indians, the ditch-diggers, the pioneers, the good, the bad and the ugly, all of us included. You may have watched the TV series and enjoyed it along with the rest of us or you may have picked up a copy of the book and fumbled through it, reading parts here and there, and set it aside to return later and give it a more thorough going over. Whatever, I'm sure you'll find the movie series and this book to be a fine example of history and something you may look at and refer to on questions concerning the West.

As for myself right now, I'm going to return the book to its position on the shelf and whenever something comes up in which I have only a vague recollelction or none at all, maybe I'll pull it out and enlighten myself about whatever it is. It's just too heavy to hold up for very long.


  1. Sounds a fine tome, Oscar. That ought to keep you occupied for more than a couple of hours.

  2. It'll be a good reference book, too.