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Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0826320864, Paperback)This riveting true story recounts the author’s journey on horseback across Arizona and New Mexico, retracing Coronado’s desperate search for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. First published in 1992 and now available only from UNM Press, this classic adventure tale reveals the Southwest as it was when Europeans first saw it and shows how much, and how little, it has changed. “The great myth of the American West,” Preston writes, “is that there was a winning of it.”
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:03 -0400)
Douglas Preston's Cities of Gold is a riveting account of his journey in the footsteps of Coronado, the legendary 16th-century explorer and conquistador who led the first European expedition through the American Southwest. Preston and a friend, Walter Nelson, set out on horseback across one thousand miles of vast deserts and unknown mountains retracing Coronado's search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. Forced to battle extremes of heat and cold, impenetrable mesquite.thickets, bad water, and paralyzing drought, they nonetheless find the country awesome in its scale and beauty - with much of it so untouched that it is recognizable from descriptions in Coronado's reports. Where Preston encounters various people - cowboys, ranchers, crazy old eccentrics - he listens to them talk about their lives, about growing up, and how the West has changed. His journey also takes him through a number of isolated Indian settlements, where he meets.some of the actual descendants of the people who fought Coronado. At the heart of the book is Preston's search for a new understanding of that shocking moment when Europeans first fought Indians within the borders of what would become America - and the fatal consequences that resulted. For what Preston finds when he rediscovers the actual ruins of the Seven Cities of Gold, as well as in the haunting stories of the Indians, and the reminiscences of the old cowboys and.ranchers, is not the triumph of Manifest Destiny, but something far more complex and mysterious. "The great myth of the American West," Preston writes, "is that there was a winning of it." Cities of Gold weaves in his adventures along the trail with unforgettable portraits of such Indian leaders as Geronimo, Cochise, and the Zuni governor Palowahtiwa, lively stories of gun battles and feuds, and memories of cattle drives, dust, and the vanished open range. Preston's.vivid descriptions of the landscapes, people and history of the American Southwest put him in the company of such distinguished travel writers as Paul Theroux, Ian Frazier, and Jonathan Raban. In the end, Cities of Gold leaves the reader with an indelible portrait of the Southwest - as it was when Europeans first saw it and what it has become today. Like Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, it has the unmistakable ring of a classic.
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