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How the Canyon Became Grand: A Short History
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How the Canyon Became Grand: A Short History

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  43 ratings  ·  8 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published July 28th 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 99)
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I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time last summer. I thought, "Wow, it looks just like the pictures." Then "it fills me with awe just like everyone says, just like I've seen people react in movies." Then I spent minutes trying to take it in and being genuinely moved. I assumed that my reaction was typical, universal. It is now, but as Stephen Pyne explains, it was not always so.

When the Spanish first saw it in the 1500s, they peered over the rim, saw nothing of value, and left. Other Europe
Bob Finch
Dec 13, 2014 Bob Finch rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bob by: geologists, artists, history buffs
Shelves: history
This brief, insightful and compelling narrative about how the "idea" of the Grand Canyon has evolved over time is a real gem. Pyne writes with a clarity that is rare, with gentle wit, compassion, and prose that border on the poetic. Bringing together cultural influences as experienced by explorers, scientists, writers, and painters, Pyne's delicious tale reveals the often surprising multi-layered impressions and meanings the Canyon has managed to impart on so many of those who have written about ...more
I really enjoyed this book! I enjoyed the geology, the art and the intellectual discussions. A lot of history here. The writer also has some beautiful descriptions that read like poetry.

"I have heard rumours of visitors who were disappointed. Thebsame people will be disappointed at the Day of Judgement. In fact, the Grand Canyon is a sort of landscape Day of Judgement. It is not a show place, a beauty spot, but a revelation." - J.B. Priestely (page 1)

"But nothing lead to the Canyon. It came as
Upon seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time two years ago, it was hard for me to know what to do. It feels strange to sit and stare for long stretches of time, but there it seems called for in order to take in all that is the Grand Canyon: the geological wonder, the roiling river, and the stark landscape. When perusing books in the gift shop on the South Rim, I was immediately drawn to Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon. The concept of falling, jumping or tripping over the edge was int ...more
Bern J
Newsday said "This extraordinary book puts the national landmark in the context of nothing less than the intellectual history of western civilization-in 200 pages" and that's exactly what it does.
Have a dictionary along side, the author has a wide ranging vocabulary.
Excellent scholarship,well written,highly recommended.
Interesting story of how the Grand Canyon was mapped, explored and studies by geologists, biologists and the like. It gave a story of how it became famous and an American icon. A bit dry though. This book was okay.
Just too dense. Had I been more familiar with the people or with the geology of the canyon, it might have been a good read. But as an introduction to the history of the canyon, I'm afraid it fails.
I now know way too much about the Grand Canyon. marked it as to-read
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