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Imagine (John Lennon) played by James Shanon

Jeff and I decided that once we left California we would pick up a book in every state we visited, so that by the end, we would have a special library of books (mostly non-fiction), that had meaning to us, and that down the road would remind us of this special journey we were able to take. Here is a list of what we've compiled so far that also may be of interest to you, whether you've already been, or have interest in reading for future trips you plan on taking. We also have added a list of more "relaxed" reading that we've enjoyed along the way. Most of our books were purchased at local shops in the areas we were visiting, to support local business. HAPPY READING!!👀📚

Eruption-The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens (Washington)

Rich with vivid personal stories of lumber tycoons, loggers, volcanologists, and conservationists, Steve Olsen's Eruption delivers a spellbinding narrative built from the testimonies of those closest to the disaster, and an epic tale of our distraught relationship with the natural world.


Searching for Fannie Quigley (Alaska)

Fannie Quigley's wilderness lifestyle inspired many with her self-sufficiency and tenacity. She hunted and trapped and thrived for nearly forty years in an environment that others found unbearable. To many of the 700,000 annual visitors to Denali National Park, she is a symbol of the enduring spirit of the original pioneers.


Beyond the Trees-Canada

In the spring of 2017, Adam Shoalts, bestselling author and adventurer, set off on an unprecedented solo journey across North America's greatest wilderness, timing his adventure before the brutal winter takes hold. Heart-stopping and wonder-filled, this book captures the ache for adventure that entices all of us.


Undaunted Courage (South Dakota)

A book with serious purpose about one of the most significant odysseys in American history.....the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. Stephen Ambrose fills every page with high adventure, drama, romance and personal tragedy. And it most certainly backs up my astonishment in just how vast and wonderful this country is. 


Gettysburg (Pennsylvania)

A "Big Picture" novel, Stephen Sears tells the whole story in one volume of work. From beginning to end, if you are a history buff, you'll find something new to learn. Based on years of research, this is the first book in a generation that assembles every piece of the puzzle, sorts it all out, makes informed judgments, and takes stands. A National Bestseller!


Look to the Mountain (New Hampshire)

This Pulitzer Prize nominated novel by LeGrand Cannon, Jr. is the epic story of two young settlers who start a new life in New Hampshire's White Mountains on the eve of the American Revolution. Through the struggles in the harsh landscape, they learn to survive and establish a formidable link to the land and with each other. This book has been critically acclaimed since it was first published in 1942 with over 1,000,000 copies in print. 


Niagara: A History of the Falls (New York)

Pierre Berton brings to life, the heroes and villains, eccentrics and daredevils, scientists, and power brokers, Niagara has a contemporary resonance: how a great natural wonder created both the industrial heartland of southern Ontario and the worst pollution on the continent.


 A History of the Amish (Ohio)

A History of the Amish by Steven Nolt gives an in-depth look at how the modern Amish church continues to grow and change. It covers recent developments in new Amish settlements, the community’s conflict and negotiation with government,  and the media’s constant fascination with this religious people, from reality TV shows to romance novels


The Living Great Lakes (Michigan)

The Living Great Lakes is the definitive book about the history, nature, and science of these remarkable lakes at the heart of North America. From the geological forces that formed them and the industrial atrocities that nearly destroyed them, to the greatest environmental success stories of our time, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario are portrayed in all their complexity, worthy of our attention.


Thomas Jefferson-The Art of Power (Virginia)

John Meacham vividly describes the life of this extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Jefferson embodied the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world. As Gordon S. Wood put it,“This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written.”


The Guns of Independence-The Seige of Yorktown, 1781 (Virginia)

Written by historian Jerome A. Greene, the author offers a complete and balanced examination of the siege and everyone involved. Greene’s study is based upon extensive archival research and firsthand archaeological investigation of the battlefield. If you are interested in American Revolutionary history, this book will not disappoint.


Allegiance (South Carolina)

An original and deeply human portrait of soldiers and civilians caught in the vortex of war as meticulously written by David Detzer. No other historian has given us a clearer or more intimate picture of the human drama of Fort Sumter.


City of the Century (Illinois)

Donald L. Miller has assembled a compelling chronicle of the coming of the Industrial Age to one American city traces the explosive entrepreneurial, technological, and artistic growth that converted Chicago from a trading post to a modern industrial metropolis by the 1890s.


A. Lincoln: A Biography (Kentucky)

Ronald C. White, Jr., offers a fresh and compelling definition of Lincoln as a man of integrity–what today’s commentators would call “authenticity”–whose moral compass holds the key to understanding his life. “If you read one book about Lincoln, make it A. Lincoln.”—USA Today


Hidden History of the Florida Keys

Join Laura Albritton and Jerry Wilkinson as they delve into tales of treasure hunters, developers, exotic dancers, determined preservationists and more from the colorful history of the Florida Keys.


Cane River (Louisiana)

A unique accomplishment, this is history never before told, an epic novel of four generations of African-American women based on one family's actual meticulously researched past.


Alligator Annie (Louisiana)

Deborah Rose Burton relays personal accounts from the "alligator whisperer" herself, Annie Miller. Born in the swamps of Southern Louisiana, Annie hunted alligators with her parents from the age of nine. As her life unfolded, she became one fierce, brave, independent woman, determined to make an incredible life for herself.


The Thibodaux Massacre (Louisiana)

Fear, rumor and white supremacist ideals clashed with an unprecedented labor action to create an epic tragedy. Author and award-winning reporter John DeSantis uses correspondence, interviews and federal records to detail this harrowing true story.


Empire of the Summer Moon (The Old West)

S.C. Gwynne weaves two astonishing stories: the rise and fall of the Comanches (one of the most powerful Indian tribes of all time), as well as the personal story of the mother who raised the last and greatest chiefs of that Comanche tribe; an enthralling story of how America came to being. Gwynne's story earned him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


Blood and Thunder (New Mexico)

Focuses on the transformation of the American West during the 19th century, including the epic story of Kit Carson, a legend of the westward expansion.  


The Promise of the Grand Canyon (Arizona)

John F. Ross tells how that perilous expedition launched the one-armed Civil War hero, John Wesley Powell, on the path to becoming the nation’s foremost proponent of environmental sustainability and a powerful, if controversial, visionary for the development of the American West. So much of what he preached—most broadly about land and water stewardship—remains prophetically to the point today.


Leadville: Colorado's Magic City (Colorado)

A well-researched people's history filled with the lore and magic that made Leadville great.


Desert Solitaire (Utah)

Desert Solitaire is a collection of tiny glimpses about life in the desert wilderness-its beautiful, yet harsh reality. Park ranger and conservationist, Edward Abbey describes his adventures and conflicts directly, but also from a philosophical point of view. 


Tough Trip Through Paradise (Montana)

Tough Trip Through Paradise grew out of a manuscript left by Andrew Garcia on his death in 1942 after a long and colorful life in Montana. Bennett Stein acquired the manuscript and edited it to tell Garcia's story of the 1877 war between the U.S. government and the Nez Perce people, the end of the buffalo herds, and other historic events in Western Life.


Farragut Naval Training Station (Idaho)

The Farragut Naval Training Station, located near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho,, was only operational between 1942 and 1946, but during that time it was the largest city in Idaho, the largest business in Idaho, and the second-largest U.S. naval training station. Named for Civil War hero Adm. David G. Farragut, it trained sailors from 23 different states and by June 15, 1946, the day its doors closed, a total of 293,381 recruits and over 25,943 service school sailors had passed through its doors. Today, it is the site of Farragut State Park and a small U.S. Navy acoustic research detachment.


Ada Blackjack:A True Story of Survival in the Arctic

Jennifer Niven has created an absorbing, compelling history of the extraordinary woman, Ada Blackjack taking full advantage of the wealth of information that Ada left behind as well as interviews with Ada's surviving son. This is not just a rugged story of a woman battling the elements to survive in the frozen north--it is the story of a hero.


Alaska's Wolf Man-The 1915-1955 Wilderness Adventures of Frank Glaser (Alaska)

For forty years Frank Glaser trekked across the wilderness of Alaska on foot, by a wolf-dog team, and eventually by airplane. In his career he was a market hunter, trapper, roadhouse owner, professional dog team musher, and a federal predator agent. He was a legend in his own time, respected and admired for his skill as a woodsman and hunter by fellow sourdoughs and by his many Eskimo friends. His first hand accounts capture the vastness, the loneliness and the brutal struggle of this land. 


The Killing of Crazy Horse (South Dakota)

Thomas Powers weaves a masterpiece about the greatest Indian warrior to have lived. Powers goes into great detail of the events leading up to and during the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, defeating General Custer's army. But the author also touches on the fiercely debated killing of Crazy Horse after his surrender to federal troops. 


The Gettysburg Cyclorama (Pennsylvania)

The first comprehensive study of the masterpiece and historic artifact of the Turning Point of the Civil War on Canvas. Artist Paul Philippoteaux's magnificent oil on canvas is explained in great detail how it was created and what it depicts from its world debut in 1884 to its massive restoration in 2008.


Mud Season (Vermont)

Author, Ellen Stimson chronicles her family's transition from city life to Vermont farmhouse living. She learns the hard way, that Vermonter's like things just the way they are, as she purchases one of the oldest continually operating village stores in the country, typecast as an outsider trying to change things. An entertaining, hilarious account of embracing change. 


Titan-The Life of John D. Rockefeller (Maine)

From the acclaimed, award-winning author Ron Chernow is an engrossing biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.—the Jekyll-and-Hyde of American capitalism. The business magnate who founded and ferociously led Standard Oil Company as well as his philanthropic efforts are highlighted in this balanced and elegantly written national bestseller.


Wedding of the Waters (Ohio)

Peter Bernstein presents the story of the canal's construction in the early 1800's and reveals the twenty-first-century themes of urbanization, economic growth, and globalization which can all be traced to the first great macroengineering venture of American history.


The Driftless Reader (Wisconsin)

The Driftless Reader gathers writings that highlight the unique natural and cultural history, landscape, and literature of this region that encompasses southwestern Wisconsin and adjacent Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Paintings, photographs, maps, and other images complement the texts, providing a deeper appreciation of this region's layered natural and human history.


The Pioneers (Indiana)

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is the quintessential American story, about the settling of the Northwest Territory by courageous pioneers overcoming incredible obstacles.


A Land As God Made It-Jamestown and the Birth of America (Virginia)

James Horn describes the unimaginable hardships endured by early colonists in their efforts to establish a settlement. With the mingling of the colonists and the Powhatans, it explores the tragic consequences of trying to convert the Indian peoples to Christianity.


The Wright Brothers (North Carolina)

The #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly—Wilbur and Orville Wright.


The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (North Carolina)

T.J. Stiles tells the dramatic story of Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt whose genius and force of will did more than perhaps anyone, to create modern capitalism. Describing his life from Vanderbilt's humble birth to his death as one of the richest men in U.S. history, this epic story also tells the rise of America itself.


The Girls of Atomic City-The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win WWII (Tennessee)

Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it--women who are now in their eighties and nineties-- The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage.


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Georgia)

John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction; a first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.


Last Train to Paradise-(Florida)

Entrepreneur Henry Flagler and partner John D. Rockefeller, dreamed and achieved the construction of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing 153 miles of open ocean, which stood for more than twenty-two years, heralded as “the Eighth Wonder of the World,” until its total destruction in 1935's deadly storm of the century.


The Worst Hard Time (The South)

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature.


The Fall of the House of Dixie (The South)

The true stakes of the Civil War become clearer than ever before, as slaves battle for their freedom in the face of brutal reprisals. Using a huge trove of diaries, letters, newspaper articles and more, Levine captures the human drama and the most colossal struggle in our history.


The Alamo Story (Texas)

J.R Edmondson's first book that thoroughly examines the famous "Shrine of Texas Liberty" from its origin as a Spanish New World mission to its modern status.


Deep Secrets (New Mexico)

This is the story about discovery, danger and adventure of the explorers who survey and investigate the beautiful and mysterious Lechuguilla Cave near Carlsbad, New Mexico.


Sedona Through Time (Arizona)

Sedona Through Time is a masterpiece of nature writing. This fully revised and updated 3rd edition is a must-read for anyone who visits or is interested in Sedona's landscape.


Tomboy Bride (Colorado)

The 50th Anniversary Edition of Tomboy Bride presents a first-hand account of a young pioneer woman and her life in a rough and tumble mining town of the Old West. Harriet paints a poignant picture of a world centered around mining sharing amusing and often challenging experiences as a woman of the era- a true pioneer of the West.


Roadside History of Utah

Roadside History of Utah takes readers on a journey through time as it follows the state's highways, vividly portraying the determined people who faced the challenges of making a home in Utah. Readers will meet them all: the native peoples, early explorers and traders, Mormon pioneers, miners and ranchers, and even today's developers.


Lost in My Own Backyard (Wyoming)

Divided into three parts—“The Trails,”, "In the Backcountry" and "A Selected Yellowstone Bookshelf", this is a hilarious, informative, and perfect guide for Yellowstone veterans and first-timers alike. Adventure writing at its very best as we walk through the very first National Park established in the United States.


In Mountain Shadows (Idaho)

Reaching back to 1805 when Lewis and Clark were among the first white men to enter present-day Idaho, Schwantes describes the Indians of the Great Basin and Plateau and shows how fur traders, missionaries, and overland emigrants definted the land that became a territory in 1863 and, finally, a state in 1890.


Thunder in the Mountains (Oregon)

After the Civil War and Reconstruction, a new struggle raged in the Northern Rockies. In the summer of 1877, General Oliver Otis Howard, a champion of African American civil rights, ruthlessly pursued hundreds of Nez Perce families who resisted moving onto a reservation. Standing in his way was Chief Joseph, a young leader who never stopped advocating for Native American sovereignty and equal rights. Thunder in the Mountains is the spellbinding story of two legendary figures and their epic clash of ideas about the meaning of freedom and the role of government in American life.

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