Book review: 'Rainbow Bridge to Monument Valley' is educational, historically rich

By Micah Klug

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 24 2014 4:25 p.m. MST

"RAINBOW BRIDGE TO MONUMENT VALLEY: Making the Modern Old West," by Thomas J. Harvey, University of Oklahoma Press, $19.95, 237 pages (nf)

“Rainbow Bridge to Monument Valley: Making the Modern Old West” is a keepsake for those who have an interest in the Colorado River Plateau. The plateau is home to the beloved landscapes that are located in southern Utah and on the Utah-Arizona border.

Author Thomas J. Harvey provides details of the history of these two treasured places. He discusses the Navajo and describes their relationship to Rainbow Bridge and Monument Valley as sacred. The original Anglo-American discoverer is discussed and debated. Harvey also introduces the reader to Zane Grey’s imaginary vision, John Ford’s filmmaking productions and today’s modern views of this land.

The book also discusses themes of movies filmed by John Ford within the Colorado River Plateau, including Monument Valley. Several of these films highlight the nation’s racist path and encompass topics such as rape, murder, war and kidnapping. The chapter on Grey provides details of his sexual and mental abnormalities.

Harvey lived in Jersusalem during his time as foreign correspondent, and he noticed connections between religious groups and worshipping rocks. After returning to Salt Lake City, he entered graduate school and earned a doctorate in history from the University of Utah. Harvey’s dissertation became his book, “Rainbow Bridge to Monument Valley: Making the Modern Old West.” He currently lives in Salt Lake City.

Micah Klug has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho.

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