Acid West by Joshua Wheeler
Essays

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

Joshua Wheeler detours around them all in favor of his native southern New Mexico in the engagingly chatty and seriocomic "Acid West." In the popular imagination, the region is defined by cliched Wild West tales about Billy the Kid and UFO conspiracy theories about Roswell.
-LA Times

Synopsis

A rollicking debut book of essays that takes readers on a trip through the muck of American myths that have settled in the desert of our country’s underbelly

Early on July 16, 1945, Joshua Wheeler’s great grandfather awoke to a flash, and then a long rumble: the world’s first atomic blast filled the horizon north of his ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Out on the range, the cattle had been bleached white by the fallout.

Acid West, Wheeler’s stunning debut collection of essays, is full of these mutated cows: vestiges of the Old West that have been transformed, suddenly and irrevocably, by innovation. Traversing the New Mexico landscape his family has called home for seven generations, Wheeler excavates and reexamines these oddities, assembling a cabinet of narrative curiosities: a man who steps from the stratosphere and free-falls to the desert; a treasure hunt for buried Atari video games; a village plagued by the legacy of atomic testing; a showdown between Billy the Kid and the author of Ben-Hur; a UFO festival during the paranoid Summer of Snowden.

The radical evolution of American identity, from cowboys to drone warriors to space explorers, is a story rooted in southern New Mexico. Acid West illuminates this history, clawing at the bounds of genre to reveal a place that is, for better or worse, home. By turns intimate, absurd, and frightening, Acid West is an enlightening deep-dive into a prophetic desert at the bottom of America.

 

About Joshua Wheeler

See more books from this Author
 
Published April 17, 2018 by FSG Originals. 19 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Acid West
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Athitakis on Apr 13 2018

Joshua Wheeler detours around them all in favor of his native southern New Mexico in the engagingly chatty and seriocomic "Acid West." In the popular imagination, the region is defined by cliched Wild West tales about Billy the Kid and UFO conspiracy theories about Roswell.

Read Full Review of Acid West: Essays | See more reviews from LA Times

Rate this book!

Add Review
×