Friday Photo: America Edition

The road to Marfa, TX.

I live in Washington, DC. Every year, we have one of the biggest fireworks displays in the nation.

But, to me, this is America – an empty Western road under big skies, one that expresses the endless possibilities of this country. This is what the USA is all about.

I took this photo on a drive around the country. When I reached this point, a couple hours outside Marfa, TX, I felt like I had truly left the East Coast behind. From here, I would be in the West. I loved the endless horizon, the baking heat and the absence of people.

The Son by Philipp Meyer

The Son book coverThe best book I’ve read all year – The Son by Philipp Meyer.

It’s a long read but it flies by as fast as a Comanche warrior on the Great Plains. The novel starts out strong with the memories of 100-year-old Eli in 1936. The book is divided up between his story and the stories of two of his descendents.

Their tales give us the history of Texas, from the 1800s to the present day. And what a history it is, filled with violent Indian raids, rich oil barons, horse thieves and a long decline – or is it progress – into contemporary America.

It’s a brutal book. The Comanches are not the gentle savages of Dances with Wolves. They kill, rape and enslave everyone they can. There’s brutality on all sides and the Colonel, the lead of the novel, is the most matter-factedly brutal of them all. He does so to survive. And maybe because he enjoys it, a fact that later generations struggle with.

Real history isn’t pretty. It’s not politically correct. It’s brutal, uncompromising and fascinating, like The Son itself.