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The Great Divide: A Biography of the Rocky Mountains
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The Great Divide: A Biography of the Rocky Mountains

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  28 ratings  ·  7 reviews
More than any other American landscape, the Rocky Mountains have prompted a remarkable medley of fierce, poetic dreams. For some 150 years this region served as a landscape of freedom for the black sheep of our culture: from the rebellious sons of wealthy industrialists to African American trappers; from affluent young women struggling for suffrage to the hippies of the 19 ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 17th 2006 by Countryman Press (first published August 16th 2004)
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A wonderful read right after we had just finished watching the 1980s series "Centennial" about the history of a small Colorado town from the time of Indians until today. This book shares a changing perspective about the unique beauty and richness of the Rocky Mountains and the impact that society has had on it over the past 250 years. The ending makes me a bit nervous thinking that it will take a conscious effort on the part of people to keep the Rocky Mountains natural. I hope that 250 years fr ...more
As much about philosophy as history, this unusual book was surprisingly easy to read. Its ongoing theme is the value of wilderness for personal rejuvenation. The book starts off discussing Europeans religious philosophy as it relates to nature, and how this legacy affected how the Rocky Mountains were thought of when Europeans settled here. It also touches on Native American spirituality and beliefs about nature. Don’t abandon the book, it does get easier to read once Ferguson has set this stage ...more
John Benson
While the book is written very well, it seems to cover humanistic issues that have impacted the Rocky Mountains over time. It often concentrates on issues that affected America, rather than the Rockies and you find out little about actual life in the Rockies. I see now that my version was given a much more misleading subtitle: A Biography of the Rocky Mountains. The previous subtitle was more accurate. I just found that the book seemed to miss the mark in what I was expecting.
This is a truly superb book. Alongside many intriguing personalities and anecdotes (such as his discussion of the idea of "miasma" in early medicine), Ferguson presents a cultural or philosophical historical of the idea of "the West" and specifically the Rocky Mountains to the American psyche. Cultural responses to the mountains range from seeing "the wilderness" as a place of exile and curse, to the mountains as a place to test and build one's mettle, to a locus of spiritual communion with ones ...more
How does one write a biography of one of the largest mountain ranges? Ferguson, after waxing poetic a bit extensively about the relation of humankind and its spiritual and emotional ties to nature, leads us on a journey not of names, dates, battles, and geology, but a history of attitudes toward and experiences of Americans (and oftentimes Europeans) in the American West. He chronicles experiences of the archetypical and not-so-archetypical visitors and mainstays of the Rockies - the Native Amer ...more
This book had a few interesting notes that I had not heard about or learned in my first few years in Colorado. In general there was a lot less about Colorado than I expected and a lot more about Wyoming and Montana.

There were colorful insights into the history of the state... frontier days... and what drew Americans westward during the 1800's besides that yellow precious metal and the shiny grey one too.

It's a quick read however it could have been half as long and learned twice as much than I di
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