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by Robert Root

  • ISBN: 0806140186
  • Category: History
  • Author: Robert Root
  • Subcategory: Americas
  • Other formats: mbr txt lrf rtf
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (May 23, 2009)
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • FB2 size: 1493 kb
  • EPUB size: 1277 kb
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 478
Download Following Isabella: Travels in Colorado Then and Now fb2

Following Isabella book. This work inspired Robert Root’s own discovery of Colorado’s Front Range following his move from the flatlands of Michigan.

Following Isabella book. In this elegantly written book, Root retraces Bird’s three-month journey, seeking to understand what Colorado me A world traveler, Isabella Bird recorded her 1873 visit to Colorado Territory in her classic travel narrative, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains.

A world traveler, Isabella Bird recorded her 1873 visit to Colorado Territory in her classic travel narrative, A Lady’s .

A world traveler, Isabella Bird recorded her 1873 visit to Colorado Territory in her classic travel narrative, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains. In this elegantly written book, Root retraces Bird’s three-month journey, seeking to understand what Colorado meant to her-and what it would come to mean for hi. ollowing Isabella is a work of intersecting histories.

Following Isabella Travels in Colorado Then and Now. Tia N. Загрузка.

Travels in Colorado Then and Now. by Robert Root. Root, a retired professor from Michigan, tracks the English travel writer Isabella Bird, whose A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains was published in 1879. Recounting a season’s exploration of the mining towns and byways above modern Denver, Bird’s book did not, as Root quietly notes, really describe a life -and other women had written about the region before Bird got there.

A world traveler, Isabella Bird recorded her 1873 visit to Colorado Territory in her classic travel narrative, A Lady's .

A world traveler, Isabella Bird recorded her 1873 visit to Colorado Territory in her classic travel narrative, A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. This work inspired Robert Root's own discovery of Colorado's Front Range following his move from the flatlands of Michigan.

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Coauthors & Alternates.

by Robert Root, Michael J. Steinberg. ISBN 9780205172771 (978-0-205-17277-1) Softcover, Pearson, 2011. Coauthors & Alternates.

A world traveler, Isabella Bird recorded her 1873 visit to Colorado Territory in her classic travel narrative, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains. This work inspired Robert Root’s own discovery of Colorado’s Front Range following his move from the flatlands of Michigan. In this elegantly written book, Root retraces Bird’s three-month journey, seeking to understand what Colorado meant to her—and what it would come to mean for him.

Following Isabella is a work of intersecting histories. Root interweaves an overview of Bird’s life and work with regional history, nature writing, and his own travels to produce a uniquely informative and entertaining narrative. He probes Bird’s self-transformation as her writing moved from private letters to published books, and also draws on reflections of other authors of her day, including Grace Greenwood and Helen Hunt Jackson. Like Bird, Root experiences his most fulfilling moments in the mountains, climbing formidable Longs Peak, living alone in the cabin of famed editor William Allen White, and wandering wild landscapes.

Through reflections on earlier writers’ experiences, and by weighing his own response to them, Root learns not only how to come to Colorado, as visitors so often do, but more important, how to stay.


Reviews about Following Isabella: Travels in Colorado Then and Now (2):
Gavigamand
I'm violating one of my own English-teacherly rules: No fair reviewing an article or talking in class about a book you haven't finished! I'm 3/4 through Following Isabella--so shame on me--and yet I'll offer a preliminary assessment for those who may, like me, buy the book at the Rocky Mountain National Park Visitors Center(s) and perhaps plan to read it on vacation, or with limited time. For everyone: Don't feel you have to read every little bit. If time is short, skim and skip to the parts that impact and most interest you. This book is thorough in its two-fold tasks of following Isabella Bird and sharing the author's own Now reflections on her places back in 1873-4. Unlike fiction reading where plot, sex, adventure, tension all propel one through pages quickly, non-fiction feels and is more dense. I'm giving 5 stars for 2 reasons: 1) The author's research appears super thorough, and I'm deeply grateful he waded through and shares good gobbits from the old records, pictures, letters and parallel accounts of places by Bird's contemporaries. You don't even have to have read Bird's Lady's Life to enjoy this book: Root has interwoven some of the most memorable quotes and episodes into his reflections. My husband has heard me talk about the book often--I taught it in college comp classes off and on over a couple decades--but with no deep acquaintance with the book, he's picked up Root's book and follows things just fine. 2) Root writes clearly with a self-effacing tone that, even if you disagree with a perspective, you trust his honesty reflections and feel you can disagree with his judgments without disaffirming the whole. At one point he narrates a visit to a tea room where all the other Victorian Tea patrons were female, there to hear and support a local Isabella Bird impersonator/performer. He thinks all the women likely perceived him warily as a "dimly pleasant" retiree on the arms of his younger, vivacious wife--I love that phrase "dimly pleasant." His writing shows skill, wisdom, and grace in that while he found the impersonation not nearly nuanced enough for his own liking (he'd lived and breathed Isabella's experiences and mindsets for months), he noted simply it wasn't for him, but others seemed to enjoy it along with their Victorian tea. I'm sure he resisted saying "it wasn't my cup of tea," but he allowed us to think it. On another adventure driving in the Boreas Pass area, he hits a stretch that some of us, having driven similar scary stretches in other states as well as Colorado hyperbolically would scream our fear onto the page, labeling it as an "Oh-my-God Highway." He records the warning road sign that a mile of narrow, steep road is coming, and then, with a modest exuberance he emotes with a clever, little boy exclamation: "Damn Tootin!" I, as a recently voluntary retiree too who has just moved to Estes Park, bought the book to confirm and deepen my understanding of where we now live: is the road called Muggins Gulch off Highway 36 really where Jim Nugent did his trapping and skinning, how does Isabella's ascent to Long's Peak sync with today's climbs, and in which canyons and over what kind of terrain were those thousand cattle of Evans' scattered. Root helpfully makes the pictures of Isabella's adventures come alive and compares/contrasts with what one sees today with clarity and skill. Sure, like the former reviewer, I rankled a bit at his first reactions of Estes Park seeming to be like any other vacation spot with its Subways and Starbucks. I've been to Mackinac Island, New Orleans, etc., and I believe beneath the surface of such places (perhaps Disneyland/World excepted), personality and sense of those places and their distinctives come through. I don't share Root's empty-nest reactions to retirement from full time-work particularly either. But I don't mind disagreeing and sharing an alternative perspective with relatives or trustworthy friends on important matters as long as I can perceive their efforts as genuine, well-presented, and thereby praiseworthy. And like the former reviewer, I found the narrative of his ascent/descent of Long's Peak gripping and affirming and will be sharing that narrative with family and friends who want to tackle our 14-er.
Qumen
I began reading, "Following Isabella, Travels in Colorado, Then and Now"by Robert Root with a critical eye. Who on earth did this author think he was, coming to Colorado and writing about the State like he knew the place? Writers are supposed to write about what they know, aren't they? That is only partially true, I concluded, because in the genre of famous travel writing, historically, the authors have known very little about the places they are writing about.
Take, for example , the earliest travel writers in America. Columbus was one of them, who traveled to the Americas four times in the 15th Century and finally returned to Spain a broken man. And what about Cabaza de Vaca, who landed in Florida, ended up in Texas and wrote a tale of acculturation called, "Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca." Thomas Harriot wrote a travel piece about Virginia, called "A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia", and shortly after its publication the entire Roanoke Colony disappeared. Isabella Bird whom Root is writing about is the author of "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains". Root astutely points out that her title is something of a misnomer in light of the fact that she only spent three months in the Rocky Mountains, not a lifetime.
So my initial premise, that Root was doomed to write an impostor's tale because he came to the Rocky Mountains as a novice after twenty seven years of living in Michigan did not have any validity. I decided that a prerequisite of travel writing is a certain degree of cluelessness about the place that the author is writing about. Root's description of driving through Eldorado Springs and observing the rock climbers is a perfect example of his status as a newcomer. "What in Michigan I would have found foolhardy was here, I already understood, a popular sport." (15) I have read Root's book more than once now and see more craftsmanship than I originally gave him credit for. One could hardly expect less from an English professor I realize with chagrin.
First of all, Root admits right off the bat that he is a newcomer to the State of Colorado. He and his wife arrive in Colorado, empty nesters, both starting new positions and Root experiencing for the first time, partial retirement. Root describes his sense of unease with such accurate personal reflection, that I find myself feeling anxious for his predicament. In one of the most profoundly lonely passages in the book, Root describes his feelings. "When my wife went off each day to wrestle with the challenges of her new job, I sat alone in our apartment wondering what was replacing my jettisoned career. In time I would tell a few friends that I didn't just retire-I seem to have vanished. Some days the sense of disappearance-of being cut off from my own identity-was very strong." (28)
I struggle a long side Root during the first half of his book as he carefully retraces some of Isabella Bird's journey to towns on the plains which are now cities. He devotes almost an entire chapter to describing the communities of Ft. Collins, Loveland, Longmont, and Greeley lamenting what he sees as"one massive conglomeration of communities occupying the plains;they are already the same place in terms of what its like to be in any one of them". (41) Root has no brighter opinion of Colorado Springs although he tries to redeem the city historically by quoting passages from Helen Hunt Jackson and other writers of that era who lived or traveled through the Springs area. He attempts to justify his position by saying that there are towns of equally negative stature in Michigan.
It is while reading these descriptions of plains communities in Colorado that I am tempted to toss the book across the room. A forty year resident of this State, I do not like what I perceive as trash talking these cities and lumping them into one giant strip mall and architectural faux-pas. Three if these communities, I actually lived in:Colorado Springs, Estes Park and Loveland. One cannot define the fabric of a community by an afternoon drive though it. One size does not fit all, as Root seems to suggest.
To prove my point, I will refer to just one of the cities that Root degenerates and that is the community of Loveland. Loveland is about as unique an American city as one can encounter. It is like a Norman Rockwell painting. I recall seeing a young boy on his bike on the streets of Loveland with a string of fish hanging from the handle bars. The art scene in Loveland is formidable; a world renowned group of sculptors make their residence there. The art museum in Loveland is progressive and brings in a host of excellent exhibits. Valentines Day is almost a State Holiday. Wooden hearts are posted on the light poles through town and dedicated to everyone from Grandma to the family dog. Loveland has this church supper, potluck sort of feel to it where I can imagine that 7 layer salad is still a big hit. There is a only a nine mile stretch of 287 between Loveland and Ft. Collins but each city is as unique as its name.
What seem easy for Root to overlook is that real people live out their lives in these cities; people who visit their ancestors in the cemetery and gather at the local hospital when a new baby arrives. The memories of these people have nothing to do with how many fast food restaurants or Safeways are in town. But I am beginning to think that Root would not be happy in any city. He heads for a two week artist-in -residence program in Rocky Mountain National Park and that is where his writing begins to flourish, much like he claims Isabella Bird's writing soared when she reached the high country. Root spends two weeks living in the William Allen White cabin and relates a good deal of history about that family.
The book takes on a transformational quality during Root's trek up Long's Peak. His description of climbing Long's Peak is one of the best I have ever encountered; both for basic hiking advise and the psychological impact it had on him. In general, he admits that his sense of serenity improves with the elevation he gains in a mountain setting.
His story and that of Isabella Bird's is about the healing quality of Nature when we experience wild and solitary places. He carefully and meticulously details the complete journey taken by Isabella Bird. His trip to Central City and Black Hawk is valuable in its insights and conclusions. He also posits some provocative observations into the character of Isabella Bird.
I have come away from this book wanting to read additional narratives written by Robert Root. To anyone contemplating a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park and especially a hike up Long's Peak, Root's book would be a valuable guide.

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