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#1 ski3pin

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 05:57 PM

I'd like to suggest a place to post our favorite books having to do with wandering the west. There have been mention of great reads from time to time in various posts. It would be nice to have them in a central location.

I'd like to start the list with a few of my favorites.

For exploring the Death Valley area:

Hiking Death Valley by Michel Digconnet

Hiking Western Death Valley National Park by Michel Digconnet

Death Valley and the Amargosa: A Land of Illusion by Richard E.Lingenfelter. This a great overall history of the area and one of my favorites. I'm on my third read.

These Canyons Are Full Of Ghosts by Emmett C. Harder. This is a fun read of stories from the Striped Butte area. Thanks to Gene and Stew for suggesting this one!

Death Valley In '49, The Autobiography of a Pioneer by William L. Manly. Thanks to Stew for the recommendation on this one. I have really enjoyed this one!

For just great reads on geology and weaving in local stories, nothing beats, in my view, John McPhee. For the areas we like to explore, the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains here are two favorites:

Basin and Range by John McPhee

Rising From the Plains by John McPhee

If you are interested in the California Overland Trail and the historic markers you can find along it, Trails West is the organization of volunteers who have researched and placed them. Guides for their location and history are available here:

http://emigranttrailswest.org/trail-guides-for-purchase/

Edit on 24 Jan. 2013:

To make this topic more useable to all of us I created a spreadsheet and entered everyone's suggestions. Janet H., on the tech admin team here converted it into a Google document.

WTW Favorite Book List

The classifications and the placement of the suggested books into the classes I choose was my decision. Please just ask for an edit if I've screwed up. I also added a column with the specific post the book is mentioned in so you can read the comments on "why" its on the list. I believe this is sortable at the top of the columns.

I hope this makes this information more accessible. Somebody have a better idea? I like better ideas because I usually come up with the hardest way to do a task. :blink:

Most of the titles are linked to Amazon only because its an easy way to get additional information. This is not an endorsement or promotion.
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#2 MarkBC

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 06:58 PM

Great idea, ski3pin! Surprised this hasn't been started earlier (or has it?)...

I heartily endorse your McPhee Basin & Range choice (an absolute classic), and I also suggest his Assembling California.

Off the top of my head, I'll add (reserving the right to add more later Posted Image) these non-fiction/reference choices:

Geology of the Great Basin, by Bill Fiero
The Sagebrush Ocean, A Natural History of the Great Basin, by Stephen Trimble -- another absolute classic among GB fans
Sierra East: Edge of the Great Basin, edited by Genny Smith -- a comprehensive natural history of Sierra east-side
Hiking the Great Basin, by John Hart -- this book guided me to some of my early-favorite hikes in the GB: Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah

Notice a theme in my choices...? Posted Image
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#3 BSS

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 07:18 PM

Well, I guess the benchmark map books go without saying.

I'll add
Touring California and Nevada Hot Springs

Day Trips With a Splash (other regional guides exist in this series as well)

Backcountry Skiing California's Eastern Sierra
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#4 Dughlas Stiubhart

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:15 PM

Great idea, ski3pin! Surprised this hasn't been started earlier (or has it?)...

I heartily endorse your McPhee Basin & Range choice (an absolute classic), and I also suggest his Assembling California.

Off the top of my head, I'll add (reserving the right to add more later Posted Image) these non-fiction/reference choices:

Geology of the Great Basin, by Bill Fiero
The Sagebrush Ocean, A Natural History of the Great Basin, by Stephen Trimble -- another absolute classic among GB fans
Sierra East: Edge of the Great Basin, edited by Genny Smith -- a comprehensive natural history of Sierra east-side
Hiking the Great Basin, by John Hart -- this book guided me to some of my early-favorite hikes in the GB: Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah

Notice a theme in my choices...? Posted Image


I'll 2x all of the above except Sierra East, which I have not read. McPhee's book on Alaska in the 1970s, Coming into the Country, is also a good read.
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#5 Dughlas Stiubhart

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:35 PM

Death Valley In '49, The Autobiography of a Pioneer by William L. Manly. Thanks to Stew for the recommendation on this one. I have really enjoyed this one!


I'm glad you liked Manly's book, 3pin.

Anybody interested in following Manly's trip through the Panamint Mountains, Butte Valley, and Panamint Valley should also find a copy of Leroy Johnson's Death Valley in '49.

I've spent many miles in trucks and on foot looking for the likely route Manly used in 1849-50 to leave and return to Death Valley. You could too!
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#6 SunMan

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 10:21 PM

Great resource for Death Valley backroad travel and trip planning...

http://www.amazon.co...85&sr=1-1-fkmr2



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#7 brett13

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 11:20 PM

I'll be the first to stray from Death Valley:

Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang. Solitaire is one of the great all-time outdoorsy books. Both pertain to SE UT.

Any of the Massey 4WD Adventure Guides like this one

If you want stories about NM, I'd suggest To Possess The Land by Frank Waters and The Great Taos Bank Robbery by Tony Hillerman.

Benchmark and National Geographic maps.
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#8 MarkBC

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:52 AM

Wallace Stegner!
"The Dean of Western Writers"...though not necessarily a writer of "westerns".

OK, specifically, there's this non-fiction that I enjoyed:
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West
...It includes an account of Powell's exploration of the Grand Canyon as well as much more about Powell-and-the-West.

And then there's this Pulitzer Prize winning novel set in the 1800's and modern West:
Angle of Repose
...It seemed slow to me at first -- I guess it is -- but I'm so glad I kept at it; brilliant and very satisfying!

Much more, too.
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#9 MarkBC

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:26 AM

I'm interested in how/why places got their names, so to me that relates to Western travel -- a good kind of reference companion to take along on trips:

Oregon Geographic Names, by Lewis McArthur
...I'm most-familiar with this Oregon classic (I know lots of people here who have it), since I live in Oregon -- a great browsing read!

Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary
...I own this one, but not for very long and haven't browsed it as much as I'd like...I leave it in the truck most of the time.

California Place Names
...I bought a copy of this for my father (living in California), and only recently bought one for myself...more interesting browsing.
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#10 ski3pin

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 03:46 AM

Great stuff! I see our library growing here. Let's keep it up! And Brett, thanks for the reminder about the Great Taos Bank Robbery; a recent read that I thoroughly enjoyed!.
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