Synopses & Reviews
They have tried to tame it, shave it, fence it, cut it, dam it, drain it, nuke it, poison it, pave it, and subdivide it," writes Timothy Egan of the West in his new book, but "this region's hold on the American character has never seemed stronger."
Lasso the Wind is a moving, funny, and incisive look at the eleven states "on the sunset side of the 100th meridian" that Egan regards as the true West. Fishing rod and notebook in hand, he travels by car and foot, horseback and raft, through a region struggling to find its future direction under both the ideological weight of the past and the commercial threats of the present.
He visits the Sky City of Acoma, which may be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America, and then goes to an instant town on the Colorado River Lake Havasu City, built around the transplanted London Bridge. He meets an outlaw cowboy in New Mexico, grazing his cattle on federal land. From Las Vegas, a sprawling, ever-expanding monument to gaudiness and glitz, to the relatively untouched wilds of Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains, Egan leads us through the world of industrialists, politicians, ranchers, and de-velopers, back to the heart of the land itself to see the wealth and grandeur that have inspired the dreams of generations.
Interweaving historical accounts with explorations of the contemporary landscape, Egan shows how and why the region came to its current state. We see why the errors and perils of the past continue to repeat themselves to this day, how enormous reserves of public land are being steadily chipped away by commercial interests and the demands of a growing population. But we also learn how some communities manage to avoid repeating these mistakes and to win successes, played out in the land and water, in the struggle between possibility and possession.
Lasso the Wind eloquently captures the American West in all its promise, in all its pain, and in all its glory.
About the Author
Timothy Egan, a third-generation Westerner, is the author of The Good Rain and Breaking Blue. The Pacific Northwest correspondent for the New York Times, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Joni Balter, and their two children.