Ancient Life in the American Southwest

Ancient Life in the American Southwest

Ancient Life in the American Southwest

Ancient Life in the American Southwest

Excerpt

A publishing house is calling for a new book on the American Southwest, and has asked me to produce it. Now, the books and reports that have already been written on this region constitute a sizable library, and the number is steadily mounting. One feels like making a pretty careful survey of the situation before adding another.

Reviewing the literature of the Southwest, one is impressed with the substantial scientific and historical reports of the latter part of the last century, the more analytical though less convincing technical studies of recent times, and the flood of romantic writings of present years, among which only an occasional work gives promise of permanent usefulness.

Obviously, the book our publisher wants is of a different sort; perhaps a correlation for students and general readers of the essential facts in the natural history and the life of man in the Southwest; a delineation of the whole as a panorama of natural phenomena and cultural expression stretching across the ages; in short, a work that might aid in the comprehension of the forces which have combined to shape this fascinating region for a unique place in world history.

From the composite view-point of the naturalist and humanist the Southwest is seen to be a vast laboratory of nature and man. Two sets of phenomena are here integrated to a degree that is seldom found on the globe. Natural history and human history are here inseparable. The stupendous consequences of fire, water and wind in shaping earth structure are here in mesas, mountains, craters and canyons. Elemental forces have wrought out through the ages a region that . . .

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