The Powell Expedition: New Discoveries about John Wesley Powell’s 1869 River Journey


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The Powell Expedition: New Discoveries about John Wesley Powell’s 1869 River Journey Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: University of Nevada Press
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Pages: 372 Illustrations and other contents: 24 black & white photographs scattered Language: English ISBN: 9781943859436 Categories: ,

John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers and through the Grand Canyon continues to be one of the most celebrated adventures in American history, ranking with the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Apollo landings on the moon. For nearly twenty years Lago has researched the Powell expedition from new angles, traveled to thirteen states, and looked into archives and other sources no one else has searched. He has come up with many important new documents that change and expand our basic understanding of the expedition by looking into Powell’s crewmembers, some of whom have been almost entirely ignored by Powell historians. Historians tended to assume that Powell was the whole story and that his crewmembers were irrelevant. More seriously, because several crew members made critical comments about Powell and his leadership, historians who admired Powell were eager to ignore and discredit them. Lago offers a feast of new and important material about the river trip, and it will significantly rewrite the story of Powell’s famous expedition. This book is not only a major work on the Powell expedition, but on the history of American exploration of the West.

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Don Lago has spent over 20 years researching Powell's 1869 river expedition, ferreting out details nobody else has discovered, myth-busting, speculating, and clarifying the whys and wherefores of the trip. This book is a culmination of those details and speculation, with updates on his previous writings and adding a wealth of new material. Lago covers topics no other Powell biographer/author has addressed, or ones in this depth."" - Richard Quartaroli, special collections librarian emeritus, Northern Arizona University ""Don Lago's The Powell Expedition: New Discoveries about John Wesley Powell's 1869 River Journey takes a new, fresh look at the 1869 expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers led by John Wesley Powell. He concentrates especially on the often-overlooked members of the crew, and the events that led to distrust, tension, and the eventual departure of three members of the party, as well as an in-depth look at the deaths of those three and the subsequent lives of most, if not all, of the men. The book is definitely a significant and novel contribution to the literature on Powell, and that's saying something. The sources Lago consulted are astounding, in a word."" - Roy Webb, author of Riverman: The Story of Bus Hatch and High, Wide, and Handsome: The River Journals of Norman D. Nevills "[A]n astonishing work of independent scholarship." - The Wall Street Journal

Author Biography

Don Lago is one of the most respected historians of the Grand Canyon, and the author of Grand Canyon: A History of a Natural Wonder and National Park. He has published more than 50 personal essays in national magazines and literary journals. His latest book is Where the Sky Touched the Earth: Cosmological Landscapes of the Southwest. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.