Great Plains Audio Cassette – Mar 1991
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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.” ―Newsweek--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The author paints impressions of the Great Plains, that wide open part of America that makes up the midlands west of the Mississippi.
There is no central theme or organized approach to this writing. It meanders with the pace of Plain's rivers and sometimes cuts back and forth like headwaters in their mountain birth places.
Ian Frazier, the author, is good at describing Crazy Horse, for whom he feels strong admiration, mountain men, an ICBM system in Montana, black and white harmony in what may be the sole surviving Freedman's town in the Plains and other historical tidbits. At times his specific writings are engaging and filled with interesting anecdotes (so are his end notes, which are worth perusing). His various portrayals of aspects of Indian life are perhaps the most engaging parts of the book.
However, at other times Frazier lays out pages where nothing much interesting happens in encounters he has with various folks of the Mid West. It almost seems as if journal entries had been inserted at various points to fill out the book -- entries that had not made it into the first draft. At one point he lists for several pages one and two sentence descriptions of inhabitants from one county around the turn of the Twentieth Century -- the type that one would find in a local census. The list isn't very illustrative and I wondered why he had thought it worthy after the first few entries proved they were plain folk about whom not much is known.
Overall, I'd rate this 3 1/2 stars if Amazon had such a rating. The writing can be good and Frazier is witty in places (although overwrought in others).Read more ›
• The disquieting shift in the natural and built landscape that marks the state line between Minnesota and South Dakota.
• The unlikely success of Horace "Go west young man" Greeley and his colony in southern Weld County, Colorado (a present-day fulcrum of US agriculture, with its county seat in the city of Greeley).
• And in northern Weld County, the reverberating legacy from the 1970s of the International Biological Program (a continuing fulcrum of biodiversity, ecosystem and global change science).
Are these wonders you particularly want to know about - phenomenon capable of enlarging your imagination? You'll have to trust me. The problem is - and in the book Ian Frazier implicitly works around this reality of the plains - phenomenon take on an idiosyncratic character on the plains, becoming - by comparison with the continental vastness of the geography - small, isolated and trivialized - swallowed up by "Giants in the Earth," as author O.E. Rolvag titled his great Great Plains novel. I think that's why Frazier tells us about his car getting stuck in the Montana mud - because the impulse plaguing all stripes of colonists on the plains is to assert their consequence in the landscape.
Paradoxically, Rolvag's metaphor, "Giants in the Earth," also refers to the lives of extraordinary personalities, who during their lifetimes on the plains exerted a force comparable with that of the geography.Read more ›
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
Frazier's book portrays the middle of America truly and entertainingly. He basically condenses his wanderings through the plains region of America into several vignettes,... Read morePublished on April 2 2004 by USAF Veteran
This book was recommended to me as a good read before embarking on a road trip to North Dakota this summer. Read morePublished on July 18 2003 by Indybg
Imagine a car trip thru the Plains states with Umberto Eco and Bill Bryson. You are along in the back seat. As you drive along Umberto enlightens on western lore.... Read morePublished on May 30 2003
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
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