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THE WEST OF THE IMAGINATION by William H. Goetzmann and William N. Goetzmann (W. W. Norton: $25)

September 25, 1988|ELENA BRUNET

From the earliest maps by Lewis and Clark through the naturalist renderings of Charles W. Pearle (owner and proprietor of America's "first respectable museum") through Edward Sheriff Curtis' heart-rending photographs of Native Americans, to the visionary landscapes of Georgia O'Keeffe --this is an extraordinary survey of the expansion of the American West, by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, author of "Exploration and Empire," and his son, a curator and professor at Yale University.

Conceived as a companion volume to the PBS series of the same name, "The West of the Imagination" tells the story, in illustrations and in conversational and readable text, of America's great frontier--as explorers first tried to comprehend and document it, and later as photographers, artists and naturalists fought to preserve it. With hundreds of drawings and photographs, many in full color, "The West of the Imagination" is a fascinating work of history.

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