What We Are Reading Today: Escalante’s Dream

Updated 19 August 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Escalante’s Dream

Author: David Roberts

Famed adventure writer David Roberts re-creates the extraordinary 1,700-mile journey of the 18th-century Domínguez-Escalante scouting expedition.
In this adventure-history, Roberts travels the Spaniards’ forgotten route, using Escalante’s first-person report as his guide. Blending personal and historical narrative, he relives the glories, catastrophes, and courage of this desperate journey.
“The places that the Spaniards went were sometimes incredibly inaccessible. Some still are to this day, which is as it should be. There should be places left where people don’t go, that keep their secrets,” said a review in goodreads.com.
In a review for The New York Times, critic Philip Connors said Roberts “knows his Southwestern history, and he knows how to craft an artful sentence. The one thing he doesn’t appear to know is just how cranky he sounds when people he meets along the way don’t share his Escalante enthusiasm, including the woman running a visitor center in Jensen.”
Roberts is the award-winning author of 29 books about mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology.
His most recent publication, Alone on the Wall, was written with world-class rock climber Alex Honnold.


What We Are Reading Today: Sorting Out the Mixed Economy by Amy C. Offner

Updated 19 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Sorting Out the Mixed Economy by Amy C. Offner

In the years after 1945, a flood of US advisors swept into Latin America with dreams of building a new economic order and lifting the Third World out of poverty. 

These businessmen, economists, community workers, and architects went south with the gospel of the New Deal on their lips, but Latin American realities soon revealed unexpected possibilities within the New Deal itself, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

 In Colombia, Latin Americans and US advisors ended up decentralizing the state, privatizing public functions, and launching austere social welfare programs. By the 1960s, they had remade the country’s housing projects, river valleys, and universities. 

They had also generated new lessons for the US itself. When the Johnson administration launched the War on Poverty, US social movements, business associations, and government agencies all promised to repatriate the lessons of development, and they did so by multiplying the uses of austerity and for-profit contracting within their own welfare state.