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Publisher's Summary

As a boy, Robert D. Kaplan listened to his truck-driver father's evocative stories about traveling across America as a young man, travels in which he learned to understand the country from a ground-level perspective.

In Earning the Rockies, Kaplan undertakes his own cross-country journey to recapture an appreciation and understanding of American geography that is often lost in the jet age. The history of westward expansion is examined here in a new light - not just a story of genocide and individualism, but also of communalism and a respect for the limits of a water-starved terrain - to understand how settling the West shaped our national character, and how it should shape our foreign policy. In his clear-eyed and moving meditations on the American landscape, Kaplan lays bare the roots of American greatness - the fact that we are a nation, empire, and continent all at once - and how we must reexamine those roots, and understand our geography, in order to confront the challenging, anarchic world that Kaplan describes. Earning the Rockies is a short epic, a story both personal and global in scope.

©2017 Robert D. Kaplan (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Magnificent book that found a great narrator!

The narration is first-rate! The narrator most likely very much enjoys the book himself.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thought-provoking extended essay.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I love even theoretical connections between geography and the course of history, and Kaplan loves to generate theories in this realm

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but superficial

An interesting perspective on the American West that frequently dovetails with my own. But the sketches of places visited are often superficial and by the end look like an excuse for a foreign policy screed that is sometimes off the mark.

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    5 out of 5 stars

American Exceptionalism and it’s implications

This is it interesting and impressive book. Kaplan follows a long tradition of American writers and tries to understand America by traveling the country. He does not interview Americans as he travels across the country. He just listens.
In the end it’s a book about American geography, it’s implications and it’s exceptionalism. Kaplan clearly has an agenda. As a realist/conservative he thinks America needs to be more attentive to its origins. He ties this to the frontier and American pragmatism.

Whether or not you agree with his arguments at the end of the book about what America should do in it’s international relations and foreign policy, the book is a thought-provoking analysis of who we are, how we got here, and where we will likely fall.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Observations of a Traveler

This was a gentle book which easily lulled me to sleep. I enjoyed his observations about the history and the history production of the places he traveled.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nothing really groundbreaking

For anyone who has learned about American Geography, this really isn't going to present you with any new info.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful