A Brief History of the Mojave Desert: Background information when reading Gods Without Men

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Gods Without Men

A Novel

By Hari Kunzru

Gods Without Men
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2012,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2013,
    384 pages.

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
A Brief History of the Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert is located primarily in Southern California but extends into parts of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. It encompasses Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Park as well as communities such as Barstow and 29 Palms. Interstates 14 and 40 penetrate into and cross the desert.

map of the Mojave Desert Nearly 12,000 years ago, once the Pleistocene glaciers receded, Paleo Indians occupied what we now call the Mojave Desert. According to the US National Park Service, "The Chemehuevi lived on prickly pear, mesquite and roasted agave blooms and hunted deer and bighorn sheep." As the region became more arid, various native tribes such as Shoshone, Southern Paiute and Mojave moved in.

When Spanish explorers arrived in the late 16th Century in search of gold and silver, "the Mojaves were the largest concentration of people in the Southwest." By the 1700s, Franciscan missions were being established on the California coast, and people such as Father Francisco Garces (who is also a character in the novel)...

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