By Wallace Stegner
The essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches during this quantity have been written over a interval of twenty-five years, a time within which the West witnessed quick alterations to its cultural and average history, and Wallace Stegner emerged as an incredible conservationist and novelist. This assortment is split into sections: the 1st beneficial properties eloquent sketches of the West's heritage and surroundings, directing our mind's eye to the chic fantastic thing about such areas as San Juan and Glen Canyon; the concluding part examines the nation of Western literature, of the legendary earlier as opposed to the reduced current, and analyzes the problems dealing with any modern Western author. The Sound of Mountain Water is either a hymn to the Western panorama, an confirmation of the wish embodied therein, and a cautious research of the West's cultural and typical legacy.
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The tamed water of the Colorado is inebriated in millions of southern California houses; it irrigates million acres of desolate tract land; it is going to generate, at complete capability, approximately six million kilowatt hours of electrical energy; it makes attainable such big-time desolate tract boomtowns as Henderson, among Boulder urban and Las Vegas; it fructifies, rather than flooding, the Imperial, Coachella, Yuma, and Palo Verde valleys. and likewise to this it offers, in Lake Mead and Parker Lake and the transparent river among them, a vacationer charm that might definitely draw one thousand instances extra humans into the desolate tract than ever the gold and silver leads did. differently inaccessible state is opened; tenting is feasible alongside 550 miles of coastline with out the wilderness necessity of packing water; the bass fishing may not be exceeded at any place, and there's no closed season. it truly is no ask yourself that Las Vegas, the closest provide element, has been on a red-hot growth ever when you consider that paintings started at the dam. it is going to proceed to growth. possibly the Reclamation Service’s seismological stations will checklist the large moving weight of vacationer go back and forth, and prosperity be measured through the seriousness of the earth tremors. Wednesday: If Searchlight, on the point of a growth, depressed us, Las Vegas in the course of one depresses us worse. within the 1920’s, whilst it used to be easily a manner station at the Los Angeles-Salt Lake street, Vegas used to be a delightful little desolate tract city. yet now it has long past Hollywood, long gone glitter and glass and chrome. The streets are filled with slickers in Tom combine shirts; each development is a on line casino, and also you can't stroll previous any door with no one-armed bandit attaining out to shake fingers. † We wander into the Golden Camel, which was once a funky darkish peekhole oasis in prohibition occasions, however the attraction isn’t there. the one right word is a desolate tract rat with a sheep puppy. The rat places a nickel within the juke field and the puppy starts to bop, however the owner shoulders out of his workplace and places puppy and prospector out. this isn't because it was once. nor is the signal we see as we shake the airborne dirt and dust of Las Vegas from our ft. “Restricted region of Small Ranches,” it says. the entire spiders are busily spinning webs round this nook of the wasteland. Off to our left, as we run for loss of life Valley Junction, we see the attractive snowfields of Charleston top. those too, we all know, were booby-trapped via the spiders, and include an all-year resort within the motion picture demeanour. it's so sizzling that we're tempted to show off, yet withstand. Our merely touch with the snow mountains is a golden eagle we meet within the desolate tract, possibly a refugee from the Hollywood characters upstairs. he's a truly well-grown chicken certainly, as excessive as a hydrant on his toes, and as substantial as a Piper Cub whilst he is taking off. this can be a state the place distances suggest as little to males as to the eagle. The postmaster of dying Valley Junction commutes seventy miles, from Furnace Creek Ranch. He tells us of the famous person course driving force who serves dying Valley with mail. This motive force covers 400 miles an afternoon, from Yermo to Stovepipe Wells and again.