Book Reviews for the Armchair Traveler #3: Great Plains



Istanbul can wait, now it’s time for a book review!

Books rule, everything else aside from travel drools! As you may recall, Conde Nast Traveller has an old list of “86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time”  and because I am a giant book- and travel-loving nerd, I’ve decided to read them all. In no particular order, mostly based on how easy I can get them. So far I’ve read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Sea and Sardinia, both most excellent. So today I present: Ian Frazier’s Great Plains!

3. Ian Frazier, Great Plains, (1989), read in September 2014

True facts: I am a prairie girl. I was raised in Kansas, I’ve traveled all over the midwest and my parents currently live in South Dakota; the plains are in my blood, so I was a bit trepidatious in confronting Frazier’s best-selling memoir-ish tale of moving to Montana and driving around every corner of the plains. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in Frazier’s poetic writing he found the beauty of the plains and its history and its emptiness. A scholar of Native Americans, Frazier infuses some of the well-worn stories of plains history–like that of Custer or Crazy Horse–with (certainly in ’89) a more comprehensive perspective that goes beyond your standard white/Euro-centric/male (though it’s mostly still male) history. The meandering chapters range over broad topics and broad geographical swathes that evoke the huge tracts of land Frazier discusses and genuinely provides the reader with a sense of movement from place to place. While a few things mark the book in the 80s, it is mostly timeless in its descriptions and a particularly worthy read for those on the Coasts unfamiliar with the plains aside from as the patchwork of fields that you fly over.

Have you read Great Plains? Did you like it? Do you appreciate the empty beauty of the flyover states?

The next review will be on something totally different–Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia. So exciting! Stay tuned…




8 thoughts on “Book Reviews for the Armchair Traveler #3: Great Plains

  1. I came across your blog and am now a follower. In the not too distant future I will have an advanced reading copy ready of my upcoming travel book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper-A Witty Guide for the Armchair Traveler. In view of your armchair travel series I was wondering if you might be willing to take a look?

    1. Hi, thanks so much. Regarding your book: if you would like to get in contact with me via email (which you can do on my “about” page) we can discuss what the options are, whether you want a review, feedback, editing, we can talk.

      1. Thanks Brenna by the time I have advanced reading copy ready, the only thing left would be a review, which is obviously strictly up to your discretion. Will let you know when I’m little closer. Thanks for your response

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