Why I Came West: Book summary and reviews of Why I Came West by Rick Bass

Why I Came West

A Memoir

by Rick Bass

Why I Came West by Rick Bass
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jul 2008
    256 pages
    Genre: Biographies/Memoirs

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A passionate memoir about the great divides in Rick Bass's beloved Yaak Valley, the West as a whole, and himself.

A poignant look at the thirty-year journey of one of our country's great naturalist writers, Why I Came West explores how Rick Bass fell in love with the mystique of the West: as a dramatic landscape, as an idea, and as a way of life. Bass grew up in the suburban sprawl of Houston, and after attending college in Utah he spent eight years working in Mississippi as a geologist, until one day he packed up and headed west in search of something visceral, true, and real. He found it in the remote Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana, a unique place, neither national park nor government-sanctioned wilderness, where despite extensive logging not a single species has gone extinct since the last Ice Age.

Bass has lived in "the Yaak" ever since and in a series of moving chapters describes his own transformation into the writer, hunter, and environmental activist that he is today. He profiles how the rugged, wild landscape smoothed out his own rough edges; attempts to define the appeal of the West that so transfixed him as a boy, a place of mountains and outlaws and continual rebirth, just beyond whatever was near it; and he describes his role as a reluctant environmental activist—sometimes at odds with his own neighbors—unable and unwilling to stand idly by and watch this treasured place disappear.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"The book reads best as a series of variations on the theme of how our relation to the wilderness is essential to our being human. Bass is an eloquent defender of his precious valley." - Publishers Weekly.

"A compelling writer, Bass offers a clear-eyed look at the difficulties facing environmentalists. One cannot help but be inspired by his hard work, dedication, and religious-like reverence for the Yaak Valley and its wild inhabitants." - Library Journal.

"Starred Review. A nuanced blend of autobiography and environmental advocacy by the well-known novelist and short-story writer." - Kirkus Reviews.

The information about Why I Came West shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Rick Bass Author Biography

Photo: Nicole Blaisdell

Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1958. His father was a geologist who passed on his passion to his son.  Bass received a B.S. in petroleum geology at Utah State University in 1979, and then worked as a gas and oil geologist in Jackson, Mississippi.  He started writing short stories during his lunch breaks.

In 1987 he and his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes, moved to the Yaak Valley in the northern Rockies, near the Idaho-Montana-Canada border.  They have two daughters and a couple of hunting dogs.  Bass is active in working to protect the Yaak area from roads and logging, and serves on the board of the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies.

He is the author of over twenty books. His first short story collection...

... Full Biography
Link to Rick Bass's Website

Other books by Rick Bass at BookBrowse
  • The Lives of Rocks jacket

6 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biographies/memoirs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...
  • Book Jacket: Rebellion
    Rebellion
    by Molly Patterson
    Rebellion overlays the stories of four women, spanning a century and the globe in their wide ...
  • Book Jacket: Genuine Fraud
    Genuine Fraud
    by E Lockhart
    Do we ever really know who our friends are? Or what the truth is? After all, truth, like beauty is ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.