Atlas of the New West

Atlas of the New West cover

THE WEST. Americans hold dearly to new ideas of the region as a wild place of majestic space, mountains and deserts, hard-working cowboys and stoic Indians. We think of ranching, mining, and logging economy, enlivened here and there with urban centers and outback resorts, but still a basking of small-town life, individualism, and opportunity.

And so it is sometimes--but rarely. The West's most telling reality of nowadays is its new social layers: thriving recreation and tourism industry, and amenity region attracting migrants faster than anywhere else in America, and a post industrial, high-tech economy creating new jobs in record numbers.

The West is America's most rapidly growing area, replete with pop-up shopping malls, office parks, and cookie-cutter subdivisions. Rodeos, dude ranches, national parks, and wilderness areas now abide with sprawling cities, ritzy ski resorts, and meccas of word class climbing, mountain biking, and fly fishing.

Atlas of the New West makes sense of this transformation with forty-six full-color, three-dimensional maps, offering a portrait of the region's cosmopolitan cities, nuclear waste sites, gold-medal trout streams, espresso bars, and working ranches. Illustrations and informative sidebars show old West battles taking new forms--who owns what land? who controls what water rights? and how much development is too much?

Historical and analytical essays by Patricia Nelson Limerick and Charles Wilkinson take us from Vail's ski slopes and sagebrush ranches in Nevada to Santa Fe's New Age Fair. Original photographs by Peter Goin capture the region's quirky and often paradoxical images. Absorbing, beautifully designed, and often humorous, Atlas of the New West explores what the region's rapid postindustrial evolution means for its future and for the future of America.


“Atlas of the New West delivers a necessary kick in the bluejeans to the old used-up notions of the land of the cowboy and his imitators in celluloid and paperback. These pages offer instead some wicked fine insights into the western constellations of ski resorts; the arid but urban and suburban battlefields where water wars are being waged; the high-tech high country; the 'get - out - the - welcome - wagon - for - those - retiring - Baby-Boomers - West'; the nuke-dump West--in short, the West is as it is and as we damned well better get used to it.”
Ivan Doig, Author of Dancing at the Rascal Fair

The Atlas of the New West is no longer sold through the Center, but if you are interested in purchasing a copy, it is available on