Great Plains Paperback – May 4 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Frazier, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of Dating Your Mom , here explores the Great Plains at random, seeking the past and embracing the present. According to PW , "This is an engaging blend of travelogue, local color, geography and folklore." Photos. 100,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Extraordinary...One thinks of such American originals as John McPhee, Wallace Stegner, Edward Hoagland, Peter Matthiessen, and Evan S. Connell.” ―The Washington Post Book
“This is a brillant, funny, and altogether perfect book, soaked in research and then aired out on the open plains to evaporate the excess, leaving this modern masterpiece. It makes me want to get in a truck and drive straight out to North Dakota and look at the prairie.” ―Garrison Keillor
“History written with passion and delight... Frazier is a great storyteller.” ―NewsweekSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
This book is well-written and entertaining. The small events that Frazier uses to illustrate the great plains region of the US are excellent vignettes that portray a deeper meaning than just the event itself. For example, the author is attending a community get-together in Nicodemus, Kansas where diverse groups of people are enjoying each others company and experiences a joyful epiphany. "This democracy, this land of freedom and equality and the pursuit of happiness -- it could have worked! There is something to it, after all!" I hope everyone has one of those moments occasionally and it is a joy to read Frazier's retelling of his.
Frazier does a great job of examining controversial events without throwing in snide sarcasms that seem to pass for commentary these days. Case-in-point is his stories about Crazy Horse and other plains Indians and Custer and the whites who interacted with them. He assigns equal doses of blame and credit to both sides. I loved his pages on Crazy Horse and also the pages about an exuberant Custer who loved the plains region just as deeply as the Indians. The quote Frazier uses "For bringing us the horse we could almost forgive you for bringing us whiskey" sums up the fine edge that Frazier balances on so well.Read more ›
Frazier has talent, but what he really needs is an editor. It's not that the book is long--in fact, it's an easy read--but it's uneven. The nearly stream-of-consciousness first chapter is brilliant, managing to evoke a trip to the Great Plains as being as much of an adventure now, when it's merely flyover, as it was when it was the frontier. And he does a very fine job of discussing the environmental degradation of the plains without letting the text get bogged down. But when he goes off on (another) stream-of-consciousness rhapsody about the joy inspired by a fashion show in small-town Kansas, it's embarrassing. And the ending chapter, set back in New York City, feels predictable and forced.
But don't let these flaws deter you from buying this book. If you have any interest in the subject matter, it's an engrossing read that'll make you want to see the plains for yourself. Which I'll be doing very soon now.
Most recent customer reviews
Let me add just these two things to the remarks of the many other reviewers: Ian Frazier's rhapsodic discussion of the joy the Great Plains engender (like the mysticism of deserts... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Ross E. Nelson
Ian Frazier writes about the wonders he's found driving up and down the North American plains. His personal accounts and stories may prompt many readers to recall the wonders that... Read morePublished on April 28 2003 by Bob
Great Plains is a cross between Kathleen Norrisï¿½ "Dakota" and William Least Heat Moonï¿½s "Blue Highways. Read morePublished on July 30 2002 by Ronald Scheer
GREAT PLAINS by Ian Frazier is one of those travel essays that might serve as the source of arcane facts useful as party trivia. Read morePublished on June 14 2002 by Mr. Joe
This book is interesting at times. Unfortunately, it is also uneven and uninspired in places.
The author paints impressions of the Great Plains, that wide open part of... Read more
Ian Frazier's multi-Plains-state odyssey encounters Indians, farmers, cattlemen, outlaws, Anabaptists, the United States Air Force, and most importantly, Lawrence Welk. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2002
A resident of the Plains, I've read this book several times now, enjoying it always. An engaging, soon-to-be-classic regional travelogue in the best tradition of William Least... Read morePublished on July 31 2001 by Puncturevine
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