Bad Land: An American Romance (Vintage Departures) (Paperback)

Bad Land: An American Romance (Vintage Departures) By Jonathan Raban Cover Image
Available to SHIP now; STORE PICKUP in 7-10 days


NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • Startlingly observed, beautifully written, this book is a contemporary classic of the American West. • "As good a book as I have read about rural America in a very long time." —The New York Times Book Review

In 1909 maps still identified eastern Montana as the Great American Desert.  But in that year Congress, lobbied heavily by railroad companies, offered 320-acre tracts of land to anyone bold or foolish enough to stake a claim to them. Drawn by shamelessly inventive brochures, countless homesteaders—many of them immigrants—went west to make their fortunes. Most failed. In Bad Land, Jonathan Raban travels through the unforgiving country that was the scene of their dreams and undoing, and makes their story come miraculously alive.    

In towns named Terry, Calypso, and Ismay (which changed its name to Joe, Montana, in an effort to attract football fans), and in the landscape in between, Raban unearths a vanished episode of American history, with its own ruins, its own heroes and heroines, its own hopeful myths and bitter memories.

About the Author

JONATHAN RABAN is the author of the novels Surveillance and Waxwings; his nonfiction works include Passage to Juneau, Bad Land, and Driving Home. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/West Creative Nonfiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, and the Governor’s Award of the State of Washington. He died in 2023.

Praise For…

A New York Times Editors' Choice for Book of the Year
Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award
Winner of the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award

"As good a book as I have read about rural America in a very long time." —The New York Times Book Review

"No one has evoked with greater power the marriage of land and sky that gives this country both its beauty and its terror. " —The Washington Post Book World

"Exceptional.... A beautifully told historical meditation. " —Time

"Championship prose.... In fifty years don't be surprised if Bad Land is a landmark." —Los Angeles Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9780679759065
ISBN-10: 0679759069
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: October 7th, 1997
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: Vintage Departures