Gene Lyons
September 19, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Legends of the American Desert

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Alex Shoumatoff
genre
Pop Culture

We gave it an A-

Alex Shoumatoff’s encyclopedic treatise on the American Southwest, Legends of the American Desert, is surely one of the most engaging travel books ever. Part travelogue, part history, part diary, and part anthropological study, it’s chockful of digressions, asides, and fascinating discourses on everything from the ecological role of rattlesnakes to the sexual customs of Apache warriors. Whether trekking into the most remote reaches of Mexico’s Copper Canyon with Tarahumara Indians or chronicling the lesbian commune of Arf, Shoumatoff makes for a diverting companion. A-

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