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Great River, Wide Land dustjacket

Great River, Wide Land:
The Rio Grande Through History

by Armstrong Sperry
Illustrated by Armstrong Sperry

Jacket by Ellen Raskin

MacMillan & Co., New York, 1967

Spur Nominee, 1967, for Fine Writing of the American West by the Western Writers of America

Although this was the last of the twenty-nine books he wrote, it is one of only three which did not bear his own artwork on the dustjacket.On the right you can see a scan of the original artwork he proposed for the dustjacket, presented here exclusively with the kind permission of my mother, for educational purposes only. (© All rights reserved.)

From the dustjacket:

The Rio Grande! "Watch it as it slithers across the wide, wide land -- this brown serpent of a river. Giant sloth and mastodon, primitive huntsmen, cave-dwellers and Pueblo Indians, Spaniards in gilded armor, friars with cross upheld -- all drank of its waters. The first white settlers knew it. The Mountain Men, Kearney's conquering army, Badmen and cowpokes. And almost within its sight, scientists touched off the first lethal explosion that might well spell the doom or the salvation of an uneasy world.

"But indifferent to man-made marvels, the ageless Rio Grande pursues its course through mountain, mesa and desert, through the land of little rain and plenty of time, through mystery and color and grandeur, on its journey to the sea."

In words and pictures Armstrong Sperry dramatizes that journey over the two thousand miles of the river's length, and through a thousand-odd years of its existence. Coronado and Kit Carson, Billy the Kid and Elfago Baca, a congregation of adventurers, scoundrels and dreamers people these pages, beckoning young Americans today to a time and place in their past where "history has not been made beneath a roof" -- the Southwest.

Armstrong Sperry was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and studied art at Yale, at the Art Students League in New York, and in Paris. He has traveled all over the world to do research from the outstanding books he had written and illustrated for young readers. Among the best known are Pacific Islands Speaking, The Rain Forest, Thunder Country and Call It Courage, which was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1941. Mr. Sperry lives in Hanover, New Hampshire.

This page last updated Sunday, 05/02/21, by Margo Burns, margo@ogram.org
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