You've likely met Gary Holthaus before, perhaps not literally, but you have met him. He's the wisened man sitting at the end of the counter in a roadside diner, swilling coffee and speaking to any and all who will speak back. He's the unassuming sage filling his tank in a gas station town, chatting it up, telling stories, moving on with more tales to share. . . . Wide Skies: Finding a Home in the West
isn't so much about finding
a home as it is about relishing
that home, exploring the reasons why the West beckons so many with its godly nature, its collective and mythical personality, its lost struggles, and its brutish desire to survive the battles time brings forth.
is an autobiographical reflection on the West, but it raises a deeper question: Why the West? What is it that makes the West a universal element of our national consciousness? . . . a personal meditation that should be read for its insights into our common awareness of the American West.
—Oregon Historical Quarterly
The idea of the West is the idea of the free individual in harmony with the land within a community. So complicated, so simple. Holthaus does his readers a grand favor by reminding them of something they already knew. Few writers manage to accomplish that.
—Salt Lake City Tribune
The strength of Wide Skies
is not that Holthaus adds much that is new to our understanding of the West as either a place in the imagination or as a region where real people live, but that he attempts through his writing to affirm both the spiritual West and the material one.
—New Mexico Historical Review
truly is a thinking project with the reader challenged to put down the book every few pages to contemplate the meaning and implication of Holthaus's words.
—Journal of Cultural Geography
Holthaus releases a cascade of vivid memories that brings to light his own view of the mythic [West]. . . . A moving chronicle of many ordinary but not inconsequential lives.
With a knack for memorable coinages, Holthaus tinges his lyrical descriptions of places and people with a philosophic bent.
—America West Airline Magazine
A thoughtful, wide-ranging meditation on the West, in myth and reality.
[A] finely crafted collection. . . . His essays are part philosopy, part travelogue and a pleasure to follow.
—Fairbanks Daily News-Miner