Books  Regional Natural History  Natural History of the Americas 

How the Canyon Became Grand: A Short History

By: Stephen J Pyne(Author)

208 pages, illustrations

Penguin Books (US)

Paperback | Jul 1999 | #222414 | ISBN: 0140280561
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £15.99 $21/€18 approx
Hardback | Dec 1998 | #89747 | ISBN: 0670881104
Out of Print Details

About this book

Dismissed by the first Spanish explorers as a wasteland, the Grand Canyon lay virtually unnoticed for three centuries until nineteenth- century America rediscovered it and seized it as a national emblem. This extraordinary work of intellectual and environmental history tells two tales of the Canyon: the discovery and exploration of the physical Canyon and the invention and evolution of the cultural Canyon – how we learned to endow it with mythic significance. Acclaimed historian Stephen Pyne examines the major shifts in Western attitudes toward nature, and recounts the achievements of explorers, geologists, artists, and writers, from John Wesley Powell to Wallace Stegner, and how they transformed the Canyon into a fixture of national identity. This groundbreaking book takes us on a completely original journey through the Canyon toward a new understanding of its niche in the American psyche, a journey that mirrors the making of the nation itself.

"Pyne's book is a thoughtful account of the major players in this extraordinary transformation from water source to World Heritage Site."
- Andrew McWhir, New Scientist


- Overlook: The View from Dutton Point
- Two New Worlds
- Canyon, Found and Lost
- Second Age, Second Chance
- Convergence
- Rim and River
- Lonely and Majestic Way: Big Canon
- Into the Great Unknown: Grand Canyon
- Against the Currents: Return to Big Canon
- A Great Innovation: Grand Ensemble
- Leave It as It Is: One of the Great Sights
- Canyon and Cosmos
- Modernism Moves On: The Populist Canyon
- Down the River and Back from the Brink: The Environmentalist Canyon

Afterword: A Review from Point Sublime
Appendix: The Grand Canyon: A Graphical Profile
Sources and Further Readings

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Stephen J. Pyne is a professor of history at Arizona State University, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and winner of the 1995 Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award for Arts and Letters. His book The Ice was named one of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year. His eleven groundbreaking books include the five-volume Cycle of Fire. He lives in Glendale, Arizona.

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