Cities of Gold

Cities of Gold

Book - 1992
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Baker & Taylor
Retraces Coronado's 1540-1541 journey across the Southwest and presents a portrait of the modern Southwest as Coronado might have viewed it

Blackwell North Amer
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.

Baker
& Taylor

Two men who retraced Coronado's 1540-1541 journey across the Southwest describe their experiences battling heat, cold, and drought and present a portrait of the modern Southwest as Coronado might have viewed it. 12,500 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c1992.
ISBN: 9780671737597
0671737597
Branch Call Number: 917.9 PRE
Characteristics: 480 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.

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