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Frazier, Ian. Great Plains. 1st ed. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989.
You get the feeling with The Great Plains that you are being carried around this vast expanse of the central U.S. in a VW camper van or a pickup truck with a cap by a passionate, intelligent, and somewhat nutty professor. Ian Frazier's narrative of his travels around the plains include visiting historic sites--young and old, truly remote towns, and other seemingly incongruous places. Frazier does not privilege one type or moment of history over another and incorporates current (hi)story with the past; past and present, famous and less known meet and blend. Lawrence Welk, Chief Crazy Horse, Bonnie and Clyde, nuclear missile sites, novels, ranchers, teenagers, rivers, and grasslands all have a place in the cultural landscape. Frazier defines the geographic boundaries of his research both in terms of Native American territories of the past, current land forms, and the area in each state that the plains occupy. While his cultural research stays related to the physical boundaries, his dialogue stretches to place the great plains within the American landscape. In between Frazier's storytelling lies a huge amount of information and knowledge about the myths, folklore, events, and facts about the people, the environment, and the culture of this section of the U.S. As a work of scholarship and a narrative, it is definitely a celebration of this region of the U.S. as well. [M. Enloe]