America’s Outback: An Odyssey Through the Great Southwest – John Annerino

Southwest America + photography. Do you feel the same pleasant shiver I felt when I saw America’s Outback on Edelweiss? I’m pretty sure the publishers I keep requesting books from are starting to get worried about my hyperfixation, but– you know. I like what I like, sue me.

Besides, I’m happy to see so many nonfiction publishers releasing all these books. Keep going, and I’ll keep reading them 😀 win/win for everyone.

Now, let’s see what America’s Outback has in store for us.

**

Hopi traditional elder Thomas Banyacya once described the American Southwest as “the spiritual center of our continent.” Author, photographer, and adventurer John Annerino retraces ancient trails to show us why this is so. Through recent and historical photos, essays, and literary quotes, he takes us across what the Spaniards often feared as despoblados, or uninhabited lands, from Old Mexico to the Four Corners of ancient cities, painted deserts, and trilingual cultural landscapes–some of the most inaccessible land on the continent. Juxtaposed with tales of his own perilous excursions, the book contains oral histories and remarkable images of terrain that few of today’s tourists have ever seen. Told from a current point of view, this throwback to the days of Geronimo and Navajo headman Manuelito will appeal to adventurers, historians, and those interested in the mesmerizing mystique of our own American outback.

112 pages
Travel, photography
Schiffer Publishing
Goodreads

**

Cover: Yes, yes, yes. The symmetry present in this shot is perfect. While reading, I learned that this is the border between the USA and Mexico.

Yay!

  • I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know about John Annerino before picking up this book. I could blame the fact that I’m hopeless with names, but it wouldn’t be fair; while I already saw some of his works here and there, I didn’t know who he was and that’s that. So, before starting this review, I did a little online search and– wow. He’s so talented I wonder where to start. America’s Outback, his latest book, showcases his skills with a camera, bringing pictures to life. As the title suggests, he focuses on the Southwest, past and present. 
  • America’s Outback is not only a photography book. It touches many other topics, from Annerino’s own travels–the one recalled in the foreword!–to historical events to inspirational quotes. Including old pictures is a great idea too.   
  • Speaking of pictures, they’re all well-curated and breathtaking, but landscapes or UNESCO locations are just a part of it. People are present too, both alive and long dead. To be honest that’s not a feature I search for in books; every once in a while though, it’s a welcome change.
  • Good writing, engaging prose. I like the pacing too, it’s rhythmic (for lack of a better word, ahhh).

Special mention:

  • Tsé bii’ Ndzisgaii, Monument Valley, Utah.
  • Wetlands, Big Bend National Park, Texas. 
  • Balanced Rocks. I adore them.
  • Colorado Desert.

Nay!

  • More pictures! What are you saying? There are enough pictures already, shut up, Tissie? Nope. ‘There are enough pictures, give it a rest’ is a concept my brain refuses to contemplate 😀 

TL;DR

4 stars, with a thank you to Schiffer Publishing for introducing me to Annerino.

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