Covering a large swath of the American West, the Great Basin, centered in Nevada and including parts of California, Utah, and Oregon, is named for the unusual fact that none of its rivers or streams flow into the sea. This fascinating illustrated journey through deep time is the definitive environmental and human history of this beautiful and little traveled region, home to Death Valley, the Great Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, and the Bonneville Salt Flats. Donald K. Grayson synthesizes what we now know about the past 25,000 years in the Great Basin—its climate, lakes, glaciers, plants, animals, and peoples—based on information gleaned from the region’s exquisite natural archives in such repositories as lake cores, packrat middens, tree rings, and archaeological sites. A perfect guide for students, scholars, travelers, and general readers alike, the book weaves together history, archaeology, botany, geology, biogeography, and other disciplines into one compelling panorama across a truly unique American landscape.
Donald K. Grayson is Professor of Anthropology and Adjunct Professor at the Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington. He is the author of The Desert’s Past, the previous edition of his Great Basin prehistory, and The Establishment of Human Antiquity, an American Library Association “Best Book of the Year.”
"All paleoscientists working in the region will want this book because it brings in so much new material and includes so many new interpretations. This is a grand synthesis and it represents a major revision written in an engaging style that teaches on every level."—Steven R. Simms, author of Ancient Peoples of the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau.
Praise for the previous edition, The Desert’s Past:
“Grayson clearly has a great love for and deep understanding of his subject, and throughout the book he manages to convey a sense of excitement. The informality and readability of the main text will satisfy the needs of a general audience.”—Science
“This is a complete guide to the environmental and archaeological history of the Great Basin. . . .It addresses virtually every major research issue that has engaged Great Basin prehistorians over the past several decades.”—American Anthropologist
"Sure to become a standard regional reference in the geological, biological, and anthropological sciences. [Grayson’s] enthusiasm for the subject matter is obvious and contagious. There are many reasons to recommend this volume.”—American Antiquity
"A classic volume on the environmental human history of the Great Basin.”—Quaternary Research
"As complete and vivid a rendering of the changing past across a major American geographic province as any book I know.”—Stephen Trimble, Western Historical Quarterly
“No other book brings together such a deep insight into the history of the inter-mountain West.”—Choice
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