John McPhee

As the West’s most attentive, most generous, and wisest visitor, you have played an unequaled role in expanding and deepening the region’s self-knowledge. In your work, scrupulously accurate non-fiction takes on the force of parable and even the lasting power of legend. In your portraits of geologists, you show us both the wonders of the strata of the West’s landscapes and the wonders of the human minds that explore and interpret the humility-enhancing history of this region. Orchestrating details of character, setting, speech, wit, and perspective, your reflections on the human relationship to nature unsettle and refresh every reader’s habits of mind. Adopting the example of your encounters with the archdruid as our roadmap, guide, navigational strategy, and Global Positioning System, the Center of the American West now formally records its debt to you—the winner of our 2011 Stegner Award and now an Honorary Westerner.